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Hasenhuttl Trying To Avoid Unwanted Record At Home
Wednesday, 19th Feb 2020 15:09

Ralph Hasenhuttl has spoken about his sides failure to get results at home and is now coming desperately close to setting a new record for the club.

Ralph Hasenhuttl has spoken about his sides poor record at St Mary's and blames the levels of expectation on his players as one of the contributing factors to a rare season when we are much better on the road than we are at home.

The Austrian said:

“Sometimes it is a little difficult to play at home, against Burnley everyone expects that we are 3-0 up after ten minutes. It is a little hard to show this, this is a pressure guys aren’t used to carrying."

“In away games no-one expects anything from us. Maybe that’s the reason we perform better in away games"

The words expectation and pressure come hot on the heels of comments by former Saints player Charlie Austin who was more explicit in his condemnation of the support at St Mary's inferring that the crowd there failed to get behind the team when it most needed them and created a bad atmosphere to play in.

Hasenhuttl's words are more politely put but they seem to infer very much the same thing, that the crowd is demanding victory rather than trying to encourage it.

This is something I have been concerned about myself over several season's now, for some supporters the default way of supporting the team is to criticise not encourage and over the last 6 years or so there have been many scapegoats.

Charlie Austin was blunt, Ralph Hasenhuttl is being a little more tactful, football is a team game and it is hard for a team to pull together and win games when some of it's members are receiving abuse from their own fans.

In an indirect way the Austrian manager is trying to make the fans see that they are an important part of the winning process, of course it isn't the supporters fault if the team plays badly, but they can help it through bad periods and indeed when things are going well.

But there is a more important reason why Saints need the fans right behind them in the last third of the season at home, aside from needing the two wins that would see us safe, we need to avoid our worst ever season in terms of home defeats.

So far we have lost 8 of the 13 we have played and won only three times, with six games left we now don't have a lot of margin left to avoid our worst ever season at home.

Even back in 2009 when we were relegated to League One and spent the last part of the season in administration we only lost 9 at home and we will match that if we lose to Aston Villa on Saturday.

But that is not the record, at least certainly not in the post war era, that belongs to the 10 home games we lost in 1993/94 when we lost 10 at home in a season that saw us revive under Alan Ball and eventually stay up by just a single point with a last day draw at West Ham.

But that season saw us also win 9 games at the Dell and draw another 2 in a 21 game home season, so overall the record was far better at a ratio of 1.38 points per game.

This season it is a shocking 11 points out of 13 games at 0.84 per game.

So with six games left we cannot afford to lose more than one of our remaining games if we are to avoid equalling this record, the only problem is that we are playing just the type of teams we don't do well against, Aston Villa, Newcastle, Brighton and Sheffield United are all the types of team we have too often failed against because we push them back and they catch us on the break, it sounds strange but we probably have a better chance against Arsenal & Manchester City the two other games.

But surely we can win at least two of these games, we need 9 points to probably ensure safety with a margin to spare, if we can beat Villa on Saturday then that is a huge step, it would put us 9 points clear of Villa who are currently 4th from bottom and that is a big margin at this stage of the season.

As Ralph has mentioned we need the support of the team, I am sure there will be a deluge of replies saying that they are being paid vast amounts of money they should not need help from the stands, but this is football and although it is a big money game these days, the fans still count, whether you play Sunday morning football or for Liverpool or Barcelona there is always a little extra something that gets you a win or a draw when it looked unlikely and the this is where the fans play their part.

Are you going to St Mary's on Saturday to encourage or just to put pressure on by moaning ?

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Kingsland34 added 16:03 - Feb 19
Encouragement from your posts would be a start instead of casting doubts and deprecating the fans.
The last 3-4 seasons have given the fans a dillema as to know what to do when encouragement only leads to less than desired responses and an appalling home record. There has been remarkable patience and pragmatism from the fan base in the face of this but the club does need to note that it can no longer fill the ground.

A1079 added 16:46 - Feb 19
There is so much whingeing about the fans - you know, the ones that pay money week in and week out to attend, the ones that fill the seats by committing themselves to season tickets no matter what position the club is in or whether or not the board resolve long standing issues, the ones that spend cash to get to the stadium, spend money on food and drinks, purchase merchandise - if we are so sh*t as fans and we are the reason and cause for our poor home form, may be it would be better if we did not turn up at all. See how the club like that. Pressure, what bl**dy pressure - it is not as if we are competing for trophies, it is not as if we expect them to win things, it is not like we demand them to win the league, it is not as if their jobs involve saving lives. Compare us to the Newcastle and West Ham fans - you know, the ones that run on the pitch waving various hand signals or tear up their tickets in front of the dug-outs in disgust - but, no, their fans are branded as passionate.

They who want to blame us for the poor home form are talking utter rubbish (and that includes RH I am afraid - as much as I like him - generally). I don't recall one single person saying they expected us to be 3-0 up after 10 mins or even full time for that matter. In fact, quite the opposite. Few people were confident we would win - our record against Burnley is poor for a start, games with Burnley are usually dull close affairs, our home form was another reason, we dont seem to play well unless we start at 3pm, we have a poor record on TV, we don't do well following breaks, we are not great in poor weather and once we saw certain players not playing or were playing, there was hardly a single reason why any of us thought we should be 3-0 up at any point.

It wasn't us that was saying Burnley play the long ball game or wrote things in the programme suggesting Burnley do not play football which Dyche then used as a motivating factor, it is the players that seem to have gone off the boil since the transfer window has closed and their jobs are safe until the summer or worse still, some (including the manager) was spouting off about only needing 36 points (when most of us were saying that that was not a good thing to say) - may be the team, the manager, the club need to look at themselves first.

Lets be frank - RH got the tactics wrong Saturday, why does he persist with Vestergaard, we have just had a break but our players did not seem up for it- or some of them didn't, we had our chances but as usual our finishing was poor. Why does he and others think that the fans have a lack of confidence and belief at home? - because not for one season or two seasons but 3 bl**dy seasons they have largely served up dirge (and the club and board have given is a merry dance of deception, especially when it comes to the end of a season and transfer windows) and they expect us to be singing from the rafters. I have a ticket for this Saturday and I am so sick of the whining about the fans that I almost feel like sending my ticket back addressed to the manager and team. After all, I would hate them to think that my being there and my family are an unwanted distraction.

Just for the record, so Ralph, Nick and anyone else who wants to fire bullets at us doesn't think I have high expectations - I don't, I expect us to lose on Saturday - but despite the above I will still go, do the 440 mile round trip, spend over a £100 to attend. I hope we win, I hope we play well, I hope there is a good atmosphere - but at the moment I actually feel pi**ed off with the negativity towards the fans. Apologies for the rant.

I don't give a t*ss what Charlie Austin thinks. He is nothing to me or my team now. He got paid well. He may have a valid point to make but it is lost in his bitter vitriole - it is about time he grew up.


saintsnutcase added 17:22 - Feb 19
It is ridiculous to blame the fans for the awful home record this year, following a succession of very bad home records in previous years. It is amazing that we still have fans loyal enough to attend home matches - if we don’t concede in the first attack the opposition has (which we usually do), we take the lead and then concede late goals. The fans don’t cause any of these defensive errors, do they?

Peterx added 17:26 - Feb 19
Our team has played some amazing stuff this season after the Arsenal game. To me we have showed that with a couple of smart buys we can be a real factor next season.

Yes our home record is poor and it would be great to get wins, but to me more importantly is that we don't lose to the teams below us, because then very quickly we will find ourselves under pressure.

Some of the teams below us have got serious fighting spirit and we are going to need to match that at home just to get a point without Redmond.

To me our season can finish well if we give it all in the next few games against teams below us, or it can go the other way if we don't.

BoondockSaint added 17:43 - Feb 19
I don't know what alternate universe Ralph is talking about where Saints fans show up at ANY game and think Saints will be up 3-0 after 10 minutes! Hell, we are usually hoping we won't be losing 3-0 after 10 minutes!

Ralph should take a good look at his team and board if he is wondering why fans have such low expectations. The Southampton Way the last 5 years (so it is not just Ralph) has been "Do the minimum needed to survive":

Remember when he said they were looking to get one or two defenders in the most recent window? Then Saints won a couple of games, and to no one's surprise, they sold a couple of defenders instead.

Ralph was even quoted as saying 36 points would be enough-when was the last time you heard a manager say something like that??? They usually (rightfully) say they need to win every game they can and hope for the best.

This attitude has seeped down to the players: Up by one goal? Well, that should be enough to see the game out, let's just knock it around for the rest of the game.

But if they lose, or drop points, it's always the fans fault. No one should abuse a player on their team, but you can't expect fans to have any enthusiasm if the players and board don't have any.

Charlie Austin says fans aren't cheering enough, they only do it after a goal is scored, so surely the solution is he should score more goals rather than missing sitters?


saintmark1976 added 17:50 - Feb 19
A1079, yours is the best response I have ever read on any subject at any time on the Ugly. Logical, well written and showing latent passion. It was a pleasure to read it, I only wish that I was half as eloquent as you obviously are.

As a balance to your extensive response I will keep it short. As a season ticket holder I'm utterly sick of Southampton Football Clubs employees and their apparent cheer leader Nick, suggesting that our abysmal home form is somehow to be laid at my door. As I posted previously the time has now upon us for the club's management team and players to stop "talking the talk" and starting on Saturday against Villa to "walk the walk". They need to accept that they alone are responsible for their abject recent failures at St Mary's and to stop continually looking to blame decent people who game after game invest their hard earned money into the club.

davidargyll added 18:51 - Feb 19
Isn’t the thing about SMG fans is that we love good exciting football and we cheer like mad when our lads play it, but I am certain that we are not the only club that simply won’t applaud boring or, even worse, plain bad stuff.
Now Nick you will only say In which case I cannot be a true fan, to which I say b*ll*cks, particularly as I will bet a monkey to a mousetrap that you are not sitting there in the stands as a loan voice cheering like mad when a SAINTS player makes a lousy pass or misses a tackle or runs into trouble.
Play a fast flowing game that’s great to watch and we will go ape, don’t and we won’t. Simples.


Boris1977 added 19:47 - Feb 19
Arsenal did pretty well playing at the library under Wenger. Maybe the silence helped the players concentrate.

The pressure certainly gets to the players at home and certain teams visiting Mary's deploy systems that make it difficult for our limited midfield to introduce a plan b to break it down.

It's not clear that Ralph is putting some of the blame at the feet of home supporters but if so it's a very cheap shot. I'd also read it as a criticism that the players confidence isn't that robust at home which is a concern.

Most saints fan's are realistic regarding what we expect of the team and the board and when the realistic bar isn't met it's no surprise we get frustrated.


BarnetSaint added 20:42 - Feb 19
Fantastic post from A1079.
The apathy, lack of communication and ambition of the owners has taken its toll on the fan base.
Consequently, the investment and recruitment or lack of has resulted in mediocrity and an abysmal home record, the fact we average around 30,000 is incredible.
I’m in 2 minds whether to go Saturday myself, not as far as A. but still nearly 3 hours each way.
The team owe us a home performance and an effing win

sidsaint added 08:57 - Feb 20
Well said A1079 and all the others that like me have a 200+ round trip. Believe me I don't want a miserable trip home so I support the boys all I can when at SMS. Last week I couldn't make it due to Storm Dennis so took my frustration out on the sofa as I watched on tv. I'll be back on Saturday, so COYS and give me a good trip home.

benalisbroom added 12:02 - Feb 20
Nothing to do with the fans, Nick. This is all about tactical naivety. You only have to read the pre-match interviews of visiting managers to realise that they all know how to beat us at home: long balls, defend in depth and either counter quickly or attack high balls at the far post. If we were smarter and didn’t burn ourselves out by 60 minutes after having the majority of the possession, teams might have to come at us a bit more and we’d properly open them up. I appreciate that it’s a balancing act.

claus5 added 13:20 - Feb 20
I normally agree with most of what Nick has to say, but not on this. Totally agree with most of the points made in reply. For 3 seasons we have been served up utter crap and have been expected to pay top dollar for it. We are taken completely for granted, it's time the players and manager took responsabillity for what happens on the pitch.

LoisDeem added 19:43 - Feb 20
There was never a time when fans fully supported the football club...anywhere...ever.
However, what has been more prevalent, particularly in a stadium that holds the Premier League home defeat record is an air of negative expectation, and common sense says that this needs to change permanently, irrespective of the team's somewhat Jekyll and Hyde performances. If you believe like me that this is a good team that sometimes plays badly rather than the other way round, you would want the atmosphere at St Mary's to be consistently positive, rather than the other way around, and this can -and will -influence the outcome. As a more 'mature' fan, I continue to remain convinced in the magic and power of vociferous pitchside encouragement and mentoring as a major positive factor in a game's outcome, and would sooner trust in this than VAR, the bottomless pockets of any given Chairman or benefactor, sports psychologists or even witchcraft. Time spent looking around for scapegoats is a negative and unproductive fools game. So, if you're going up to St Mary's on Saturday, take a positive voice, because win, lose or draw, you'll enjoy it more -and be better company. The outcome will be better, and the journey will prove less painful. Saints Forever.

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