The pressure is on Chelsea, says Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl

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Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has suggested the pressure is on Chelsea ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge.

While Saints are still looking for their first league win of the season, Thomas Tuchel’s side head into the match following successive defeats to Manchester City and Juventus – and not since 2002 have Chelsea lost three successive games.

Southampton are unbeaten at Stamford Bridge in their three visits under Hasenhuttl, with a win on Boxing Day in 2019 sandwiched between two draws.

The Austrian did not go as far as to claim it was a good time to play the Blues, but did say: “I think for them it is a very important game because they lost twice and I think it is unusual to have this situation.

“For us it is again a game against one of the top-six top teams in the league, the Champions League winners, who are a little bit under pressure after two times not winning. They will do everything to win this game because they have to.

“We go there like every year with a lot of respect, but also believing in what we are doing and this is how we want to create another positive result at this ground.

“There are not many grounds out there where we have never lost a game, but this is one of them. We have always felt good there and had very good games most of the time, to be honest.

“You don’t have to speak about the quality of the opponent, we know this. We need a similar performance like the one against Manchester City and we have shown we can be competitive against big teams.”

Southampton were unable to build on their goalless draw at City last weekend as they lost at home to Wolves.

Hasenhuttl said: “It was a big setback because the chances were there to win the game. It was a disaster for us. But the league is very long, we’ve had a tough schedule in the beginning.

“We know we need to take the first win; there’s always a chance to do it. If you want to be successful (at Chelsea), you need everything to go right.”

Stuart Armstrong is closing in on a return to fitness and could be in contention for Saturday’s game.

The 29-year-old midfielder has yet to play this season due to a troublesome calf injury. He was on the bench for Saints’ opening day defeat at Everton before the problem flared up again.

Hasenhuttl also said one or two players were nursing minor knocks and niggles but nothing serious enough to put their involvement in the game at Chelsea in jeopardy.

Armando Broja, who is on loan from Chelsea, is ineligible, while Jack Stephens (knee) is a long-term absentee.

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