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Saints Looking For A Strong End To The Season
Monday, 29th Apr 2019 14:53

Ralph Hasenhuttl rewarded his players after securing Premier League safety by giving them a couple of extra days off, but he want's them to come back raring to go and to end the season with three straight wins.

It was ironic after 9 straight defeats in the Premier League for Fulham that in beating Cardiff and securing Saints safety they did something that Saints haven't managed all season.

I'm not just referring to actually taking a point off the Welsh club, the two defeats to Neil Warnock's men meaning that we looked over our shoulders for a lot longer than we perhaps should have, but in winning three Premier League games in a row, something that we have not only failed to do this season, but in the two seasons preceding this.

This lack of any real consistency is the difference between struggling and mid table safety and after throwing away yet more points in the last four minutes on Saturday it will mean that the 3rd year anniversary since our last hat trick of wins will pass by in the next week or so.

But Ralph Hasenhuttl is not taking his eyes off the ball, he has already indicated that the rebuilding is already beginning and although in his mind he will already formulated the core of his squad for next term, there are a few out there who will be playing for their future in the last couple of games.

Hopefully that will see us have a storming finish, we can now get a maximum 44 points and we are now looking to see who we can overhaul directly above us, there are 4 clubs who we can catch Burnley 40 points, Bournemouth 42 points, Newcastle 42 points & Palace on 43 points, so what are the chances of being able to move up the table and secure an extra £2 million per place.

Burnley is a real possibility, they have Everton away on Friday night and end with Arsenal at home, we have a fair chance to do that if we can win at West Ham and follow that up by beating Huddersfield.

Bournemouth and Newcastle will be more difficult , but both have tough finishes, The Cherries have Spurs at home this weekend and then finish up with a trip to Crystal Palace, we could overhaul them, likewise Newcastle who host Liverpool on Saturday and end with a trip to Fulham, in truth though I cant see them losing both games, especially with Aleksandar Mitrovic unable to play for Fulham as he is on loan from Newcastle.

Palace are going to be hard to catch, even if Cardiff beat them on Tuesday, it is hard to see them failing to beat Bournemouth on the final day and indeed it might be something we need them to do.

So Ralph will want to see his side sign off with two straight wins and in doing so perhaps push up a place or two in the rankings, If Bournemouth lose their final two games a draw and a win might well be enough to see us leap frog over them.

Ralph Hasenhuttl has put a sense of pride back into Southampton FC, its players and just as importantly it's supporters, he will not let his team coast through the final two games.

The future next season can be very bright, with the right signings this team could easily finish in the top 10, it's time for optimism and to banish the wave of pessimism that has dragged this club down over the last couple of years.

Photo: Action Images

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underweststand added 15:37 - Apr 29
Now that we are "really" safe....might Ralph be tempted to try some of the "also-rans" from the bench, or even give debuts to one or two U23's who might be in the frame next season? As it seems to be "common knowledge " that Austin will go and Stephens might be looking for a new club , we can probably discount them from the squads for the remaining games.

Might we see Forster in goal again?...or even start with Lemina, Gallagher ..or even Moi getting some game time?.
To say that we have nothing lose might sound trite, but neither West Ham or Huddersf'd are likely to improve their league positions by the end of the season, and it's an ideal opportunity for Ralph to caste his eye over players he hasn't used before.


A1079 added 16:07 - Apr 29
Ralph may say that but I don't think it will happen. I think many of the players will relax now and not want to risk injury etc. I see us losing to West Ham, as they will want to end at home with a flourish, and a dull meaningless draw against Huddersfield as neither side will care and again not want to risk anything. I am looking forward to the final home game and it will be nice not to have to worry about getting a point or worry about other results.

SaintNick added 17:10 - Apr 29
A1079, I can see your point, but why will West Ham want to end their home season with a flourish whilst we wont ? What leads you to that conclusion ? I think you have missed the point about why we have stayed up, it is because there is a different attitude in the squad since Hasenhuttl arrived

franniesTache added 17:51 - Apr 29
I'm just confused how we're getting three straight wins out of two games to be honest

A1079 added 20:23 - Apr 29
Nick. I didn't intend to come across as negative, and I appreciate your challenge. I completely get why we have stayed up. Ralph has performed a miracle and he has managed to do it with a group of players that not so long ago, did not believe, had no faith in their ability and even less confidence. He has allowed JWP to express himself and bag some important goals. He has brought on Valery and turned him into a real prospect. Long looks like he has got his mojo back. The team look like a team and can cope with their shortcomings.

My comment was related probably to the fact is that I have seen it time and again with players both at Saints and elsewhere. When they feel they have achieved their goal the adrenalin drops and to be honest I felt that a bit after the Wolves game. Fans and players alike seemed to celebrate as if it was all but over. Sure it was a key performance and result but the job had not been done. I felt that the first half at Newcastle was in part a reflection of taking their guard down, though I accept that there were other factors.

Don't take my comment as a "downer" on what Ralph has achieved or the sort attitude, culture and values he is impressing on the team. It was merely a somewhat cynical view on my part that footballers are footballers. Hopefully I am wrong.

Onwards and forwards to the next season.

SaintNick added 20:36 - Apr 29
A1079, I agree with you some teams are already on the beach as they say, my only point was why West Ham should be up to it and Saints not. The Newcastle game in my opinion wasnt about us letting our guard down, it was about having a poor defence that couldnt defend, same as the Bournemouth game

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