Southampton have come a long way since Mark Hughes departed in December and was replaced by Ralph Hasenhuttl; the performances have been far better, particularly in recent weeks, and Hughes is surely a distant memory at St Mary’s Stadium.
Ryan Bertrand, though, hasn’t quite forgotten about the Welshman it seems. He appeared to have a few sly digs at his former boss while praising his current one this week.
Well, speaking to The Daily Echo, the former Chelsea man said:
“The manager has come in and has given us an identity. He has given us a clear style of play and doesn’t leave any stone unturned.
“It’s a real pleasure to go to the field like that and not have people questioning each other what to do.
“When there is an argument, they are genuine arguments because everyone knows their role and will know if they haven’t done something right.”
When Hughes, often known as “Sparky”, left the south coast at the end of last year, Southampton were flirting with the relegation zone and looked like real candidates to go down but, now, they look certain to renew acquaintances in the Premier League for another year if their performance standards don’t dip.
The Saints finally have a clear style of play, as Bertrand says, that was perhaps absent before Hasenhuttl took the wheel, while the 29-year-old’s comments regarding the lack of certainty as to what their jobs were within the side are really concerning.
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Was Hughes ever really in control? From what Bertrand says, it sounds like the Welshman was unclear with his instructions and caused a lot of arguments in the dressing room as a result. Now though, the Saints squad know exactly what is expected of them both on and off the pitch – it shows.
The St Mary’s Stadium outfit work tirelessly out of possession while looking dangerous in it and, should they achieve survival as is expected, exciting times lay ahead for the club.