Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier was on top form as he defended his celebration of Saints’ win over Wolves at the weekend; the former striker responded to the irritated Molineux Stadium faithful with what he surely saw as an argument-ending stat comparing Ralph Hasenhuttl with Nuno Espirito Santo.
— Matt Le Tissier (@mattletiss7) April 14, 2019
While numbers don’t tell the whole story, Football FanCast are here to explain the rest of it and exactly why Le Tiss’ indication that Hasenhuttl’s Southampton are better than Nuno’s Wolves might be right.
The Saints’ excellent run continued with a 3-1 victory at the weekend at Midlands outfit Wolves’s expense, although naturally the opposition fans had their excuses and retorts when Le Tiss took to Twitter to celebrate.
Indeed, the St Mary’s Stadium outfit were in dire straits when Mark Hughes was given the boot and former RB Leipzig boss Hasenhuttl subsequently appointed in early December, although the Austrian has completely turned things around.
While, as the Twitter user trading blows with Le Tissier says, Wolves are in a far, far better position in the standings, the stats suggesting that Southampton have been better than them since Hasenhuttl took the helm don’t lie.
Other than a 0.08 points-per-game margin, what does the Saints chief have on his Wolves counterpart, then?
The 51-year-old has instilled an excellent attitude – epitomised by new captain Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – in each of his players and this has surely been a massive part of their huge improvement in 2019.
Leicester proved in 2015/16 that it’s not all about money and Hasenhuttl is proving that again, albeit not to the same extent, at St Mary’s Stadium with a squad he has inherited mere months ago and has had no part in building.
He has brought players in from the cold who are now on fire – pick any of James Ward-Prowse, Jan Bednarek and Yan Valery – and has got the Saints playing sublime, at times, and effective football.
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While Nuno’s Wolves are equally capable of proving magical moments on the pitch, the Portuguese struggles to adapt mid-game and this has cost last season’s Championship winners on numerous occasions, whereas, while he rarely gets his game-plan wrong, Hasenhuttl’s in-game management has been excellent.
Given half the funds in the summer that Wolves have spent on their squad this season, he will surely be able to transform his side into Europa League challengers for next the campaign if their recent run of form is anything to go by.