King Ralph Speaks !
Monday, 17th Jun 2019 09:31
Ralph Hasenhuttl has been talking about his experience at Southampton and his hopes going forward.
Speaking to German sports media outlet Sportbild Ralph Hasenhuttl has given perhaps his most in depth interview since joining Saints.
He started with his first task at St Mary's, avoiding relegation.
"That was my hardest mission so far, even if you do many things new and well, you may not win a game. Because the league punishes mistakes brutally.
:" For me, the Premier League is the strongest league in the world. It immediately captivates you. The quality is brutal, you play felt throughout the year Champions League.
Football is just everything here in England, has once again a higher priority than in Germany. "
"Put your feet up in the summer break? Are you kidding me? Are you serious when you say that! In England, he is no longer just a coach, but also a manager. "
"I'm involved in every decision. Even if a new bus is to be bought. When the crew is free, I'll take care of the scouting, phoning with possible newcomers. That's what Ralf Rangnick took over as sports director in Leipzig. But that's a great next step for me. That's why I find the task so appealing. "
Ralph then went on to explain that for him the job at Saints is far more than just the team, but rebuilding the entire club.
" For the first half year, we first wanted to bring back the feeling of being back. I think we have managed to make people positive for the club again. Next season, we want to climb as far as we can. If we keep our point cut, we can land at 10th place. "
That also means rebuilding the backroom staff as well as the playing side of things and is looking for coaches to strengthen his staff including a goalkeeping coach, although he was not clear what that means for Dave Watson the current coach for the keepers.
He is also looking for at least five new players and has a very definitive view of the type of player who suits his way of doing thins.
"We want players who fit our philosophy: lots of speed, high pressing, gaming intelligence. The English football is very man-oriented, in the direction of the players are trained. It's important that we get guys who can also defend ball-oriented. "None of them should be older than 24 years. "I have had good experiences with that in Leipzig. I've learned to develop young players and see that you can succeed with them. "
He also talked about how his time at RB Leipzig has helped him, even teaching him to record every training session to analyse what is needed.:
I learned a lot in Leipzig, especially from Ralf Rangnick (Director of Football). He showed how to successfully lead a club successfully. These approaches and experiences are very helpful to me now. "
Next Ralph talked about where Saints stand in Englaish football and how he can take them forward, although in Germany things are a lot different in the way clubs are set up and owned, the might of Bayern Munich still dominates.
"In the Bundesliga I would probably compare with Mainz or Freiburg. We are limited in our possibilities, but we are taking a very sustainable and healthy path: we are a self-financing system, living from purchases and sales. "
That is not a bad thing though as it leaves Hasenhuttl and indeed those running the club day to day to get on with things.
"How much does he get involved? Hardly, there is loose contact. For example, if we win against Tottenham, it's an extreme publicity for him. The Chinese are very interested in the Premier League. The games are seeing 100 million people there. "In summer, the club flies to Macau for four days as a club owner. "Such trips I find in the preparation actually suboptimal," says Hasenhüttl honestly. "That's why we only have five players plus juniors, the others are in the camp in Ireland. So the journey to China has little influence."
It also seems that Hasenhuttl has already fallen foul of the speeding cameras in England.
Driving on the left? No problem! "That went after two days. I tend to bother the speed limits. A maximum of 75 km / h on the highway - that is tough, especially as you are always stressed. Sometimes I would like to get on the gas. But everywhere are speed cameras, as I unfortunately had to find out ... "
The one thing that Ralph misses though is his piano, his apartment on the waterfront in Southampton does not fit and he has had to leave that behind at least for the time being.
"The apartment is not big enough for that. And I have no time. But the other day I played in the team hotel, for the debut, rather spontaneous. I sang: 'Weus'd a Herz host wia a mine' from the Austrian Rainhard Fendrich, I think that's great. "
But the Austrian remains grounded and even though he was flattered by the welcome the fans gave him after beating Arsenal and Huddersfield just after his arrival, he is not getting carried away.
"Initially, the hype was almost too much for me. I won two games and was equal to "King Ralph". You have to be careful. But if you succeed in inspiring people here in a sustainable way, then they are already similar to the Leipzigers: regardless of the outcome, they are very positive. That gives me a lot of strength. "
The good news for Saints fans is at the last though, although Hasenhuttle does not rule anything out, he is happy at Saints:
"You can not rule anything out in football, But right now I do not think that I'm working as a coach in Germany again. In England, the coaches enjoy a very different status. Add to this incredibly interesting league. I have an extremely high job satisfaction. "
Sportbild ask him In Southampton, the fans fear that if Hasenhüttl still successful, he could be quickly gone. Like Mauricio Pochettino , who went to top club Tottenham after only one and a half strong years.
Ralph's reply was clear:
"I do not think about what's coming to Southampton. I've found a job here that fills me up, and I'm not here to run away. I want to make a name for myself in this league. "
An interesting interview and perhaps the clearest one of not only Hasenhuttl's philosophy, but the way the club is working these days, clearly they are letting the Austrian do things his way and put his own ideas into the way that things should be run at Staplewood and indeed any aspect of the playing side and beyond.
This is what is giving him the job satisfaction and hopefully this will mean that the fact that this is much more of a project to him than just a job will mean that his time here will be longer than most of our managers in the past 30 years.
Of course you can never say never in football and if he continues on in the same vein then he will attract the attention of the big clubs.
But he seems more of his own man than most other Premier League managers who seem happy to change clubs regularly and merely manage the team.
Hasenhuttl is different, he want to be part of the club, be part of the community and in that respect he weras his heart on his sleeve, Saints fans might not like it, but in this respect he is very much like Jurgen Klopp.
But at Saints things are different than they are at Anfield, Hasenhuttl knows exactly what the task is at St Mary's and is under no illusions, however that does not scare or worry him, in fact just the opposite he is relishing the task.
If Ralph has bought into what the club are now trying to achieve, then perhaps it is time some of our fan base did as well, the air of negativity surrounding the club for the last three years has to end, Ralph has done a lot to dispel that already, but the message is clear, this is not the Southampton FC of a couple of years ago, things have changed within.
Although the core elements are still there, these are being refined and built upon, all that is asked that those who are still sceptical stop harking back to the past and give the future a chance.
I am sorry if such a positive article is ended on a sour note, but the stark reality is that if we want the club to succeed and want Ralph Hasenhuttl to stay and be a part of future success, then we have to get on the bus with him and be positive, he surrounds himself with positive people and that means the crowd too.
Photo: Action Images
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