Saints At West Ham United The Verdict Monday, 6th May 2019 21:21
Ralph Hasenhuttl made it quite clear after the draw against Bournemouth last weekend ensured our safety that his priority was now rebuilding for next season, this was his first pre season game for next year not the penultimate one of this.
I heard some ranting after Saints collapse up at the London Stadium on Saturday and whilst I can understand the frustrations of some, they needed to put the game into perspective, unlike a year ago at the same venue when we were a desperate side trying to save our selves, this season that job has already been done and Ralph Hasenhuttl made it quite clear he was looking towards next season.
That being the case he picked a side to give some of those players who have not forced their way into his side on a regular basis, hence we saw perhaps our two best players of the last few months on the bench in James Ward Prowse and Nathan Redmond and the likes of Mo Elyounoussi starting.
Perhaps though the Austrian manager might have been better waiting a week when he would be facing a less potent side with respect to Huddersfield rather than change the side to visit West Ham when his weakest area of the team central defence is already missing two usual starters.
But the manager made his choice and rightly or wrongly it does not make a blind bit of difference to this season, however it will have told him a lot about next and that was the purpose of the exercise, he wanted to see how certain players would respond and he got his answers.
I'm not going to pull out individuals in this game, I have spent two seasons doing that, we all know what is wrong and what needs putting right, the manager is in a lot better place himself after this game, would we rather we played our first team and got a point ? we would still be in the same position today, but we would have learn't nothing.
We need to start getting a bit of optimism back, Ralph Hasenhuttl has performed a minor miracle in not just keeping us up but creating a team spirit in the squad that leads us to hope we can achieve much more last season.
For the last five years it seems every change is greeted by meltdown and an outbreak of optimism, yes there have been some troubled times but they have been outweighed by the good, no one has sold us down the river yet so why not have a bit of faith that under Ralph Hasenhuttl we can achieve something, but we have to trust him to do it his way and his way was what we saw on Saturday.
I for one am looking forward to next season, I am pleased that Hasenhuttl has started to make his plans already and that included throwing in a few fringe players on Saturday to give them a last chance to show what they can do, Ralph is up and running for net season, sadly some can't see that and would have preferred us to wait until the end of this season before we start to plan next..
I know some will say that they didn't pay £30 to watch a reserve team, I can understand that , but most who went Saturday are the hard core who go home and away week in week out, most I spoke to would gladly sacrifice that £30 for a top ten finish next year, it's about the bigger picture.
Yes Nick, I would rather we had played our first team and got a point, who knows perhaps three? With each extra place in the final table being worth a couple of million pounds I can't imagine the owners being too happy either, but hey it's only money.
As for some suggestion on other sites of putting players in the shop window, then well done Ralph because the end result was to reduce their resale value even further.
For me the biggest observation to come out of the recent games is what on earth are the club to do in regard to Danny Ings. He is clearly not fit because of long term injury problems and it appears unlikely that he ever will be fully fit and able to play a full game at any time in the future. Surely the club weren't daft enough to commit to his end of season purchase irrespective of his known problems?
I do think that we should not comment for at least 48 hours, until we have thought things through. We are supporters, not professionals, and our emotions are somewhat tainted by the previous games events. However that’s never going to happen, but good balanced verdict.
Cheers for the good work throughout the nick, usually agree with most of your appraisals on the whole but it's often the difference of opinion that makes things more interesting.
I'm cautiously optimistic for next season on the condition that Ralph is given sufficient support to fix the issues. I think we're three solid signings from being an enjoyable, attractive and competitive team to watch again.
I am optimistic about next season and fully believe in RH to deliver. However, I really couldn't understand saturday's line up. What was the point? Fraser F knows full well he is not number one and never will be: he is too old now. He was not playing for his future at the club, he was playing for nothing. Silly to start him. He conceded three goals so if there was any club about to buy him, they won't now! Stephens, well he makes mistake after mistake. We already know he is not up to it. Mo Elyounoussi is clearly too lightweight.
Whoever played though, I think the whole team was already on the beach. Very annoying considering each place is worth 2 million pounds and the fans saw such a poor performance but never mind. We are safe and look forward to next year.
I agree with you on this one Nick. I didn't see the game so I can't comment much, except to say that to me it made sense to give Redmond and JWP a rest so they are refreshed for the last game of the season. They have both covered serious mileage during our battle for survival and it was the first and only time we have had the chance to rotate. I'm sure Ralph wants to finish strongly with a win next week and also learn what he could in preparation for next season. If he has selected fringe players it's because they have impressed in training. Anyway first goal was an individual error from Valery, who has been superb, hugely important to the team too, but he's raw and will obviously make some errors as he learns. I'm sure Ralph has learnt a great deal more by rotating a couple than not, and Lemina needed a run out. For goodness sake, thank our lucky stars we are still in the top flight and had an opportunity to learn more about the squad before the summer.. Well done Ralph and the whole squad for turning things round. Not felt this positive about the coming of August since the Koeman days. Hopefully the club back Ralph with the 3 or 4 signings we need.
For me, we’ve got a good squad but need a quick striker and a CB. Poor Stephens - his confidence must be shot and although I haven’t sat down and totalled up the points per game when he plays as opposed to when he doesn’t, I’m sure the comparison will be a stark one. Sadly, it’s felt like whenever he plays we lose and vice versa for a long time. For the final game he should try Klarer, Jones or Bertrand at CB.
What a bad performance that was from the minute Valery gave the ball away for the first goal we looked lost. What is Danny Ings supposed to give us because he has not looked fully fit all season. Just hope we have a get out clause because it looks like he will never be fully fit. We must hope Ralph is given sufficient funds to get the 4 or 5 new players that we need. Stephens has to go along with Gallagher, Elyounoussi, Forster, Hoedt, Austin, Clasie, Hesketh, McQueen, Reed and Carrillo.
Same shite, different season !! We were awful this time last year away to Newcastle and away to West Ham. Last year we had PEH say after the Newcastle game that it was an off day and we can let it happen again. Then we went to London Stadium and repeated it. This year we went to Newcastle and produced an under par, error ridden performance, then went to West Ham and did the same - including players in the team who make all the errors. Regardless of that article in the echo, we need wholesale changes this summer - out with 10 or 12 fringe / pointless players and sign 4 or 5.
I thought it was a wasted opportunity to blood some youngsters. Call it pre-season if you will but playing those who we all know do not cut the mustard was odd. Why not give Slattery, Ramsay, Marcus Barnes a go? What we learned is that our squad is not strong enough outside the first 11 or 12 players. If that was a shop window it may now be a car boot sale.
The timing of the manager's odd team selection giving the fringe players a run-out was simply because this was the last away match where few would be watching, preferring to field a full strength team for the last home match in front of a capacity crowd.
At least most of us didn't have to watch this dreadful performance. On that basis he got it right. The real question is why did he bother when everyone and their barking dogs knew the fringe players are bloody useless at best. The result is we chucked away vital points and now risk being the worst of the rest as it were. In many respects Hutch still has work to do to convince that he is the real deal.
The Ings dilemma will cause management a few headaches during the summer and they will need to grow a few pairs and tell the Victims that we are no longer their punch bag and there will be No Deal!
Ings has been a disappointment, injures or no injuries and has offered us very little over and above what we already had in Austin & Long and most on here want to see those two journey-men making the next leg of their journeys.
The reality is we will soon be heading into the next transfer window with few convinced that anything much will change. How many times have we heard the phrase, "There is no money" and lets be realistic our talent spotting and negotiating abilities are in severe doubt after the last few windows.
Thanks Nick. I also saw this match as our first pre-season match. Forster and Elyounouissi blew it and must have played their last game for Saints. The same probably goes for Stephens. I am not sure about Ings. I think we have plenty of raw talent in our U23 and U18 squads, so 3-4 big spendings for defence and attack should be enough spending, I think.
What you can say about Nick is that throughout this most disappointing of seasons he has steadfastly searched out the silver linings when most of us saw only the gathering of ominously dark storm clouds. Our survival albeit by the skin of our teeth is justification enough for Nick's lonely optimism and we should be enormously grateful to him for sticking with it until the very end.
Every article he writes sets him up as a hostage to fortune, I think he knows that and suspect that maybe even rather enjoys the controversy that invariably follows but no matter how many times we may knock him down he always struggles to his feet to carry on the fight.
So well done Nick and love us or hate us we'll all be back in August (figuratively speaking) laying in wait for your latest essays. Have good summer.
Forster has reminded us (if we needed reminding) that if he gets down to save low shots, he seldom catches them, but just pushes the ball back into play, rather than pushing the ball sideways or out for a corner. Trouble is we gave him such a long contract.