'We have proved them wrong' - Hasenhuttl assesses season with survival assured

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Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl (Pic: PA)
Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl (Pic: PA)

SAINTS manager Ralph Hasenhuttl insisted “we have proved them wrong” to beat Premier League relegation with a “very young team”.

The St Mary’s outfit were one of the favourites for demotion to the Championship following the summer transfer window, and the exit of talisman Danny Ings.

Ings was also joined out the door by other experienced seniors and such was the financial situation under former owner Gao Jisheng, Saints replaced them with youth.

Going on a remarkable run to climb as high as ninth in the table by the beginning of March, despite the poor end to the season Hasenhuttl declares survival a “big achievement”.

Daily Echo: Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl (Pic: PA)
Daily Echo: Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl (Pic: PA)

Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl (Pic: PA)

“The most pleasing thing for me is that before the season, we were very high on the betting list for relegation,” he admitted. “After losing our best striker and a few other important players for a lot of money.

“We have proved them wrong with a very young team, willing to learn, to stay in the league with our limits we had as a club. Everybody can hang this as high as they want, I know what performances it was from us.

“When you are flying high, nobody speaks about seven wins in 10. Now, everybody speaks about one win in 10 through this part of the season.

“This is the Premier League and we know it is tough to perform on the highest level for a consecutive time. I know what the young lads have done this season, and now we have to end up in a positive way.”

Saints welcome title-chasing Liverpool to St Mary’s needing to bounce back from a 3-0 crushing at Brentford last time out, over a week ago. They could end up finishing 15th again, just like last campaign.

Daily Echo: Adam Armstrong had a goal disallowed at Brentford Community Stadium (Pic: PA)
Daily Echo: Adam Armstrong had a goal disallowed at Brentford Community Stadium (Pic: PA)

Adam Armstrong had a goal disallowed at Brentford Community Stadium (Pic: PA)

“We had a lot to do this week as you can imagine. We have seen a lot of games meanwhile and we know the 40 points are enough to survive,” Hasenhuttl added.

“There's a big battle down in the league where you don't want to be involved and the positive thing is that we have two games left against the best team in the world, maybe, and against Leicester. We were using the time for looking at our details and finding a better way of being competitive.

“For sure it's a little bit similar to seasons before,” the boss added. “We had one time where we had a good end where we had the break and after the COVID break we ended up quite strong.

“In all the other seasons we were dropping positions and this is for sure something you can say we missed a big chance or it's not enough overall what we're delivering.

Daily Echo: Saints' win over Arsenal was their only in the last 10 Premier League matches (Pic: Stuart Martin)
Daily Echo: Saints' win over Arsenal was their only in the last 10 Premier League matches (Pic: Stuart Martin)

Saints' win over Arsenal was their only in the last 10 Premier League matches (Pic: Stuart Martin)

“I think when you look at what we've played, especially against the top teams - we took 11 points, five draws and two wins - this shows you the potential we sometimes have but the consistency and to take points around us was not there, and that cost us a few positions in the table.

“Is it that they have more quality than we have or because we haven't been good enough for some reason? I think the most important thing for us is we have again very early saved the league.

“When you see the teams in a relegation battle, I think they'd like to change position with us. Never forget this. We've had nothing to do with relegation in the last three years and it was this season the same. Everybody can say if this is a big achievement for the club or not. For me it is.

“We know there was a chance to end up higher, there's still a small chance and we take on the last two games for getting as many points as possible. And then hopefully end up in a positive way.”

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