(Reuters) - A place in the FA Cup final would rescue Southampton's season after a disappointing run in the Premier League, manager Ralph Hasenhuettl said on Friday.
"A cup final can definitely turn things around 100%, it would be a super successful season definitely," Hasenhuettl told reporters ahead of Sunday's second semi-final against Leicester City.
"When you see what teams are there around -- Chelsea, Manchester City and Leicester -- it is for us a big success."
Southampton, who won the FA Cup in 1976, have not reached the final since 2003, when they lost to Arsenal.
While the Saints reached the last four without conceding a single goal, knocking out holders Arsenal along the way, their league form suffered and they dropped from third to 14th after Hasenhuettl focused on a cup run.
"We had some very good moments this season. We had been very high up in the table for a short term, then we had very big problems with injuries," Hasenhuettl said.
"Maybe also because we were focusing a little bit on the cup, selecting the strongest side for the cup games -- especially in January and February -- that cost us a few injuries."
While most managers have played down the FA Cup in recent years to focus on the Premier League, Hasenhuettl said the knockout competition still held a special place in his heart having tuned in to follow it when he was growing up in Austria.
"This FA Cup is a very traditional competition, there's a reason why everybody loves it so much," he added.
"We are always getting called out on how much we've won in the Premier League, on how many points we have. The FA Cup is then a little bit behind."
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon)