Southampton head into a well-earned three-week break now that their clash with Watford has been postponed due to the Hornets’ progression to the FA Cup’s last eight. The gap in fixtures has given the Saints a chance to get an interview with training-obsessed captain Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg this week.
“[As captain] I have to be even more aware of other things. How is the team doing? How are my teammates? Does someone need help?
“I go and fight for what I love, which is Southampton Football Club and football. I give myself everything, so I need to look people in the eyes and feel people: who do I want to go to war with?
“I believe that if everybody takes their responsibility, if everybody is brave and mentally prepared to show their qualities in the same system and in the same way, we have a fantastic team – but only then.
“Suddenly you play against Southampton and you know, ‘I have to go for a fight now, I have to go to war’. That’s what I want from my team.”
It’s certainly inspiring stuff and it’s no wonder that Ralph Hasenhuttl made the former Bayern Munich man permanent captain upon his taking of the wheel in December.
Indeed, the midfielder epitomises the grit and determination which have been crucial to the drastic improvements the St Mary’s Stadium outfit have made in recent weeks. Obviously, moments of quality from the likes of James Ward-Prowse and Yan Valery have helped, but this attitude is admirable.
Southampton do have the quality man-to-man to escape their current predicament but Hojbjerg rightly believes they can be so much more than that with an elite mindset.
Be sure to check out the incredible story of the man who rose from a Tanzanian refugee camp to become one of Australia’s biggest football stars in the video below…
Saints might have emerged victorious over Spurs last time out but they are far from safe with eight games left and merely two points separating them from the drop zone so, as Hojbjerg says, each and every man will have to fight for the cause.
If they don’t then they will have the 23-year-old to answer to and it sounds like he won’t tolerate anyone who isn’t pulling their weight in the starting XI.