Ralph Hasenhuttl has challenged his Southampton players to show how far they have come under his management when they face Cardiff City this weekend, as per southamptonfc.com.
A win against Neil Warnock’s side would see the Saints move five points clear of the relegation zone, while a loss could potentially see them drop into the bottom three.
Hasenhuttl’s first game in charge of the club came against the Bluebirds, but it ended in defeat with Cardiff running out 1-0 winners in a scrappy encounter in Wales.
However, the Austrian has since transformed the Saints, taking them out of the relegation zone and forging a five-game unbeaten run.
And the 51-year-old is keen for his players to take a measure of revenge on the Bluebirds, with this encounter now regarded as something of a six-pointer.
“I know that it is a big opportunity to make a big step,” he told the club’s official website.
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“We lost the first game against them 1-0 – I don’t know if we were the worse team or if they were the better team, but we want to show ourselves that we are one step further in our development, so let us have a look and see if we can get a different result.
“We are playing a different shape and there are a lot of different players now in the first XI. We have made a big change in our game and the way we want to play football.
“In the last two months we have changed a lot – we have taken 15 points since then, which we had to because we are still in a lot of trouble, and that shows us how important it is in this part of the season to take points consistently.”
Things rarely come full circle in football but they could well do for Southampton this weekend.
Hasenhuttl’s first game in charge was a match devoid of quality or invention and showed the Saints in a pretty poor light.
However, they have since beaten Arsenal, drawn with Chelsea and beaten the likes of Leicester City and Everton.
They will be a different prospect for Warnock’s men this weekend, and Hasenhuttl is right to remind his players of their responsibilities.
A win would go a long way to helping secure safety at St Mary’s, and would complete a quite
remarkable turnaround in just nine weeks.