Hasenhuttl Is Getting The Best Out Of Players Monday, 14th Jan 2019 09:59
After over two seasons of under performance from most of our squad finally we have a manager who knows how to get the best out of it's members.
We might still be a long way from being home and dry in the race for Premier League safety, but the transformation in the form of many of our squad members since the arrival of Ralph Hasenhuttl is nothing short of amazing.
Suddenly we have a squad who are willing to fight and scrap for every ball as they did at Leicester on Saturday and although yes we are still short of a player or two we can move forward with confidence
Leicester was not a pretty game to watch, in mitigation just about every fit experienced member of the squad was in the starting line up with only Cedric on the bench with any real Premier League experience and Mo Elyounoussi the only other player out of the 7 with any real top flight experience, but the spirit was there for all to see and the Austrian manager was not afraid to throw 19 year old Callum Slattery on in the vital closing stages for his Premier League debut with his only other appearance being his start at Derby in the FA Cup a week earlier.
But it's not just the way that suddenly our youngsters seem to be blossoming under Hasenhuttl it's the way that he has transformed the season and perhaps the careers of several of our more experienced campaigners who have had varying standars of play over the last 2 years or so, but none truly to the level they should be achieving.
Nathan Redmond was already a contender for player of the year before Ralph arrived, but he has stepped up a gear or two and now looks a class act.
He was joined on Saturday by James Ward Prowse, Shane Long, Jack Stephens & Jannik Vestergaard all experienced players and all of whom had received a lot of flak from the crowd not only this season but apart from Vestergaard last as well.
They seemed to have a spirit in them that has been lacking in a long long time and hopefully the Supporters will realise that and now judge them on how they perform under Hasenhuttl and not our previous three managers.
James Ward Prowse was excellent at Leicester and showed leadership qualities that had been kept well hidden, his problem is that having come into the team as a 17 year old and now a veteran of over 200 games it is hard to see how he has changed over the years and that makes him hard for him to gain the respect he deserves.
Having said that I think that he has struggled to put his stamp on a game as he should have, mentally he seems to have seen himself as the little boy in the side for too long always eclipsed by expensive signings.
He should really have stepped up a few notches and at 24 started to believe that he can control a game, but under previous managers he failed to do that, perhaps because he sensed they really didn't believe he could either.
One thing that Hasenhuttl seems to do though is inspire his players and show belief in them by not being afraid to play them whoever the opposition.
Initially under RH JWP was on the bench, but with injuries and suspensions suddenly he has been in the starting line up and looked a different player, one with confidence, one with fight and one with a belief in himself.
Likewise Stephens & Vestergaard on Saturday, credit where credit's due they showed a level of play that both had rarely showed before and that offers hope that they could both have a future in our defence.
Shane Long looked back to his old form, he has never got the credit he deserves from many Saints supporters, but make no mistake about it, with the side we had to put out a the King Power due to injury and suspension there is no other player who could have led the line as he did in our squad, it's a team game and our defence did their job, but strikers win games and Long won us this one.
All over the squad whether they are youngsters or experienced pros there is a buzz and belief about the place they believe and it shows.
As I mentioned there is a long way to go and we still need a signing or two, but Ralph has got the best out of the squad so far and we will pull clear of relegation with time to spare if we keep this up, we are fitter, more motivated and slowly getting a bit better organised Hasenhuttl has gained 10 points in his first 7 games, thats 1.42 points per game, if we achieve that in the last 16 games then we will have 42 points more than enough.
I thought Ward Prowse was pretty ordinary apart from a well taken penalty and a few well taken corners - that was his first goal since last February. What else did he do of real value? He doesn't look a different player at all. Romeu, the best player on the pitch by a mile, was forced to control the midfield by himself because JWP is most certainly not a CM/DM. As for Shane Long - nothing different from him really; worked hard as usual - won a penalty through a crazy challenge on the edge of the penalty box when not in a threatening position, and then scored a goal which was deflected in by their goal keeper - some well overdue luck.
I agree that Ralph has made a difference but I'd like to see how we do over the next few games before I decide that the likes of Long, JWP and the CBs are suddenly excellent players. Redmond HAS definitely improved this season and long may that continue. We need to start winning at home against the likes of Everton and Palace.
It is not raining on the parade to say Leicester were very poor - the difference on Saturday was that we played a decent team not playing well and actually BEAT them. Whether that is just some LONG (could be an unintended pun there) overdue luck or a real turning of the corner remains to be seen. The 4-1 vs next Saturday's opponents last season was hailed as a turning point...and well look what happened there. Two good away results have given us hope - two good home results to follow would have even the pessimists agreeing that something is happening at last.
Oh, and am I the only one totally forgetting about the cup match?!?
Overall I agree with Nick that JWP is showing more confidence and self belief, whether that is going to take his performance up to a higher level and turn him into a competitor like Steven Davis I don't know. The player for me who really is showing that he can meet his true potential is Bednarek and I think he can become a class player in a short period of time. Hopefully he wont be receiving any phone calls from Klopp just yet.
Good overview Nick. The squad was down to the bare bones on Saturday so it was a good performance alround, but I can't agree (with San Marco) that Leicester were poor. They had over 70% possession, more than 20 shots and all against 10 men - and still lost. Defensive display was the best I've seen in ages, and hopefully Valery will learn his errors. The back three worked a treat. Bednarek was superb and Vestergaard won every header. Jack Stephens was a good sub. for Yoshida playing " sweeper" at the back.
As for your player comments; Shane Long said (in interview) said that he was beginning to learn something new from RH - even at 31, and I agree that JWP is beginning to look more confident. Beginning as a first -teamer aged 17 one tends to think he's not going to make it, and his slight build and "choirboy expression " don't help. (Seem to recall that Adam Lallana went through a similar phase). As I have writtten before, JWP was never better than the (departed) Steven Davis, and always seemed to be used as a sub. for injured players ending up with different roles.
It's clear than Ralph has told the squad ..." it's my way - or the highway " and we may see more high profile departures in the near future. In August's home game v. Leicester we fielded 11 internationals - and lost. On Saturday there were quite a few younger faces to be seen and it maybe a challenge for the "older proffs" to get back in the side if they continue to turn in performances like Saturdays. Last season we had second-youngest squad in the Prem. - it must be even younger now based on our recent starting sides.
I think we must be patient with the newcomers, but if RH succeeds we may be able to avoid a lot of the increasing price-hikes taking place in the current transfer market.
Psychological factors have kicked massively and positively in. Something has changed in the heads of the players...., and so we are all reminded about how important psychological factors are in sports, not least football. Priceless points on the board, several youngster debuts, better team spirit, etc., etc., etc. Before everybody forgets about the Derby County game, I´d like to say that I hope we can use this momentum in the FA cup. It was wonderful to win the ´Paint Trophy` in 2010, but it´s time we win a bigger trophy, which will bring us even more, priceless momentum.
I think everyone can see & feel the change ,RH has surely got something special about him,either improving players or connection & charisma with us fans .i think the sta ten points from 7 is also slightly false because Cardiff wasn’t really down to him & still should have yielded a point.i probably mentioned before that the only disappointing result so far is the west ham game ( although they’re proving to be useful).so for me Everton is really important in seeing where we are, hopefully a few players back including the so far excellent PEH & and a strong attacking performance will really push us onwards & upwards
As I postulated yesterday, it's way, way too early to claim that Hasenhüttl has "transformed" some of our players.
Agreed he seems to be making an impact overall but that's more about improving game management and tactics rather than improving skill levels which are still woeful in many cases. Still lots of mistakes, still too many safe back passes, still loads of very poor misplaced passes and still players failing to get forward or attack the box in numbers.
Don't get carried away Nick. We are not Chelsea yet!
Nick says we should not judge on "pre conceived opinions". If a pre-conceived opinion is one gained from watching the players week in week out over a long period of time (i.e. just about every TUI contributor I imagine) then I don't see what other opinions we can work on.
The idea of everything going back to day zero under a new manager is romantic cliche. Of course Ralph will have watched extensive videos of past performances - he certainly had pre-conceived opinions about Hoedt and Gabbi. My opinion on, say, JWP has been formed over YEARS of watching him play and I am not going to press a button and start watching from scratch am I? Of course I am delighted that Ralph has changed the mood here and if that makes players play a bit better then marvellous but it does beg the question why they weren't playing better before...
Until JWP scored the penalty I didn’t think he was doing very well! There were a number of occasions before the goal when he should have moved forward with the ball, but chose an easy back pass which immediately meant the attack lost momentum. He improved and did ok positionally at right back, but for me he is lightweight and doesn’t have enough pace and these aren’t things that Ralph is going to be able to change. I feel he avoids challenging situations like moving forward because he hasn’t got the strength or speed to be effective. If we could only combine Lemina’s ability with JWP’s work ethic!
All JWP did on Saturday score a penalty his passing was woeful he kept giving the ball away. He is still to lightweight and cant tackle. Still against Everton on Saturday PEH should be back so we wont need to play JWP.
Many of us have the same hymn-sheet with the same words when it comes to JWP. I watched him closely at the weekend and just about every pass he made was safe, 5 yds and backwards or sideways. Nor did he make one clean tackle.
If a raw 19 yo can come in and tackle cleanly (granted to always) then why can't a bloke with nigh on 200 first team appearances still not make a tackle or be brave on the ball going forward? Nobody on Earth can reset this guy's approach it's just in his DNA, he just ain't brave or particularly gifted.
One day we'll find out who recommended a career in professional football for him, he'd have been better off becoming a solicitor and so would we!
As delighted as I was on Saturday with that result and even more so with the fighting never say die attitude, which I have not witnessed in a Saints team in a long while, we need to keep our feet on the ground and avoid going into hyperbole and falsely believing that suddenly all our problems on and off the field have been swept away.
If we follow this result up with a rare home win, then may be, just may be, there is a genuine reason for hope. Our home record is not poor, it is appalling. The performances and results at home need to improve to get the home support back on side and make St Marys the fortress that the Dell was before it.
Saturday's win was critical and the odds were stacked against us, but it was back to the walls stuff which you can only get away with occasionally. Lose on Saturday and it will be one step forward and one step back. We still lack some real quality, which it appears the board are not willing or cannot rectify. We are hoping that RH has the midas touch and can turn coal into gold. But, if anyone can do it, RH is our best hope.
It's fair to say that very few players performed well during Hughes' time. Whatever it was he said /didn't say in training / pre-match obviously didn't work. Ralph has inherited the same group and rejuvinated many of them, and those who don't " cut it " will eventually go, or be loaned out to other clubs to see if they can impress.
Gabbi and Davis have gone and a more maybe on their way, and given the fact that we are still without Bertrand, Ings and PEH we surely must admit that he's DAJFU - so far.
To make an defintive judgment we must wait a few months to see if he's succeeded. A good cup run, and winning "the 6 pointers " ahead of us will give everyone a breather given that we are hardly likely to have a big spending spree in January.
By the end of this season, I can see Ralph having a clear out of the "dead wood " - even if we make a loss on transfers, and an influx of 95 minute "supermen" who don't stop for breath and can avoid red cards. It may take time until he can build a squad with another Pelle, Tadic and Mane all coming together, but right now... a couple of seasons of finishing mid table would seem to be a good prospect. The "Koeman years" were very uplifting but it seems that we were boxing well above our weight during that time.
Still way to many players JWP being one who take the easy 'negative' pass when the forward pass to get in behind was just as easy, on the right particularly there were five occasions when we had Valery or others up the wing and bottled it...whatever the whys and wherefores there is still many squandered chances to attack attack attack attack attack to sing from the 70's hymn sheet.