Ralph Targets 3 Wins In A Row
Wednesday, 8th Jul 2020 09:20
Ralph Hasenhuttl has spoken of the "Massive Targets" he has now set his side, but it is one step at a time and the first is to achieve three wins in a row with a rare victory at Goodison Park on Thursday evening.
Saints are now looking up the table rather than down it after an excellent restart to the season where they have won 3 out of the 4 games so far, the 9 points gained propelling them right out of the danger area and ensuring that they are mathematically safe .
"First we have five more games to play and massive targets to focus on," Hasenhuttl told the press conference ahead of the game at Everton.
"The first is, since I've been here we have not won three games in a row. This is the first target we absolutely want to get. With the game against Everton now we have a big chance to make a third win.
"We go there with a lot of self-confidence in an away game. Away, we have shown some good games this season. Then also we are now in touch with the clubs in front of us and to climb one or two positions in the table would be fantastic for us - not being part of the relegation saga in the final third."
"Being in the middle third would be a very good step forward in our development when you know where we are coming from; I think in the last 21 games we took 35 points - that was the fifth most in the league, and this shows our current form, definitely after the restart we have shown some good games, and keep on doing that.
"Three wins in a row would mean that we have found some consistency in our performances.
"In the fixture against Manchester City you have to have a fantastic game and against Everton it won’t be any easier.
"We are always speaking about how we’ve shown we can be competitive against the big clubs but then we’ve also given away points easily and this must stop."
"It’s a good chance to show ourselves that we are one step ahead of our development.
"Then we can maybe surprise ourselves with this third win in a row and it’s quite a tough game and we know we have the chance to overtake them with a win."
"The most important thing isn’t focusing on what we can do, it’s about looking at what we have to do to win games.
"This is what I try to put the focus on and this helped us in our very difficult time as we could concentrate on our strengths and behaviours on the pitch.
"In the end, this gives you more chances to win the game and whatever position you finish in at the end of the season comes as a result of that."
It is good to see the manager concentrating on small steps at a time which in turn become big ones, winning three games in a row in the Premier League does not sound too difficult until you look back to see when it was last achieved..
As he says Ralph himself has not achieved that feat, although he has come near on a few occasions with two in a row.
His predecessor Mark Hughes could not win any more than one game at a time and that was the same case for the man before him Mauricio Pellegrino.
Claude Puel you might have thought would have achieved this feat given he lead us to an 8th place finish, but although he won four in a row in the Autumn of 2017 only two of these were in the Premier League and were not even consecutive sandwiched between wins in both the Europa League and EFL Cup.
He also managed a three game streak, but this saw only one League game, an FA Cup win against Norwich and that glorious EFL Cup semi final win at Anfield being on either side.
Puel did have one occasion when he managed two straight Premier League wins, but unfortunately the following game was against Man City at St Mary's and a 3-0 defeat.
So we have to go back to the final games of season 2015/16 for the last run of three straight League wins, four years ago, Ronald Koeman achieved the feat, indeed he went one better when he won the final four games of that season to propel us to a 6th place finish.
He also achieved it in the January of that season when Charlie Austin's late winner on his debut at Old Trafford was the 3rd game in that run.
However in his first season at the club even Koeman managed it only once.
Mauricio Pochetino did not manage three straight Premier League wins in his one full season, but he did hit the feat late on in his first few months in charge in the second half of 2012/13, predecessor Nigel Adkins had not managed it in his half Premier League campaign, although ironically he was Reading manager who provided the opposition when Pochettino won his third game to achieve the feat.
So if you consider that as we complete our 8th season back in the Premier League with 7 permanent managers in charge during that period, only two of them have won Three Premier League games on the trot and that feat has only been achieved four times, thrice by Koeman and once by Pochettino.
So perhaps for teams like Liverpool & Manchester City three game Premier League winning streaks are par for the course, for Saints they are not, it may well only be a small step if we achieve this on Thursday but it will be a massive achievement.
So if Ralph could achieve it this season it would truly be not only a great achievement and testament as to how he has turned the club around, but the icing on the cake to finish what should be our best season points wise in the four attempts since Ronald Koeman was lured to Everton just as we seemed to be establishing ourselves as a top 8 side.
The irony if Ralph Hasenhuttl wins at Goodison Park and in doing so pushes us above Everton in the table will not be lost on myself and I suspect many more.
Photo: Action Images
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