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Everton 3 v 1 Southampton
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 14th August 2021 Kick-off 15:00
I'm Sorry Ralph ! But You Got The Selection Wrong At Everton
Monday, 16th Aug 2021 11:37

I like Ralph Hasenhuttl as a manager but sometimes I have to call it as it is and he got his team selection at Goodison Park on Saturday totally wrong and an Everton side who were there for the taking were allowed to get a win that they didn't really deserve.

Before the Everton fans rip in to me for saying their team didn't deserve to win, I will quantify this remark, it isn't sour grapes, but in a game when neither goalkeeper had to make a save that was beyond bog standard, either side could have won it and neither side really deserved too on the overall run of play until the last 14 minutes.

I like Ralph Hasenhuttl as a manager, at a time when he is just become the longest serving Saints manager since Chris Nicholl was sacked 30 years ago, it has been good to have continuity, something lacking over that period.

He came in at a difficult time and inherited a squad bloated by players on big salaries and nowhere near the first team, it was never going to be an overnight easy fix, but slowly but surely he has dismantled the squad in place when he arrived and built one that is stronger and with more depth.

The fact he has done that on a tight budget, not just because of the Chairman's inability to get money out of China, but because we had so many on big salaries and in truth it wasn't the transfer fees that were stopping us, but the wages we were carrying on our books.

So in my book Ralph Hasenhuttl has been a good manager and more importantly a good fit for Southampton Football Club, one that cares about the whole club and not just the first team.

Indeed his win ratio compares well with just about every other Saints manager in terms of the top two divisions.

Win ratios aren't always an accurate way of judging a manager, but they do give some indication and Ralph's at 36.84% as of today is better than Gordon Strachan's 35.45%, Alan Ball 32.84%, Ian Branfoot 28.91% and even Chris Nicholl at 34.13%.

Most of the managers above him were more short term and not that much better, Ronald Koeman as you would expect has the best ratio at 48.35% and Lawrie McMenemy 's at 41.74% is a surprise given that 4 of his seasons were in the old second division.

One surprise is Mauricio Pochettino, his win ratio is only slightly better than Ralph's at 38.33%

If Ralph Hasenhuttl's side had won at Everton on Saturday, this morning he would sit on 37.74%, but the fact is we didn't win and the manager has to take some blame for this.

Most Saints fans were shocked to find stalwarts from last season on the bench in Stuart Armstrong, Jan Bednarek and Kyle Walker Peters, if you had polled the 2,000 Saints fans up at Goodison you wouldn't have found many who would not have started all three in the team.

Take those three out and you take a big part out of the team and I felt it was folly to leave them on the bench, especially when you consider that we would be putting out a team with 3 debutants.

Ralph has explained his reasoning saying that "The players out on the pitch today, they showed most in the pre-season. "

But I'm not sure about that, I was also surprised to find Alex McCarthy in the side given his poor pre season, so in my opinion that was an error.

Likewise although Tino Livramento had a great debut, he should not have started ahead of Kyle Walker Peters, most at the game felt that and thought that if the manager had played both then we would have been stronger on the right.

“Okay he (Livramento) was not that long here like Kyle but it was not an easy decision.

“But I was looking for his physical one against one qualities he has defensively against Richarlison. I think he did it fantastically to be honest.

“We (know) he is immediately that he is a player who can play in the Premier League and this is very positive for us.”

Dropping Jan Bednarek was also strange especially given Ralph's awareness of the physicality of the Everton attack, the Polish centre half is our strongest player, he is the man who cuts out more balls into the box than any player in our squad and indeed most of the premier League. Jack Stephens is not the most physical of players.

Stuart Armstrong was also a big loss and we missed his surging runs.

It would be hard to argue with Ralph that the players who came in did well,, for most of the game they did, as mentioned Livramento was a great success, but the others a little more varying, Jack Stephens was ok , but no more than that, Theo Walcott had his moments but ultimately lacked a bit of end product, certainly there weren't many who would have played him ahead of Stuart Armstrong.

So I am afraid in this game Ralph was brave in his selections, no one could accuse him of not trying to take the game to Everton, but ultimately we came up short because we lacked experience to see out the game.

We failed to hold firm as Everton came out of the tunnel in the second half on a mission and we really needed to have calm heads and we didn't.

Managers make mistakes, that doesn't mean they should be sacked, on Saturday Ralph Hasenhuttl tried to do something different and it didn't pay off, we lick our wounds and go again, on a bright note we found that the three signings who made their debut's at Goodison look to be solid signings.

Adam Armstrong looked fast and has an eye for goal, it is still early days but he could be better than Danny Ings, Tino Livramento will give Ralph a few selection headaches and will give Kyle Walker Peters a run for his money at right back, although personally I would have preferred to see him playing just in front of KWP.

Romain Perraud looked a combative player and a decent replacement for Ryan Bertrand, one advantage being that he actually looked like he wanted to be in the side, unlike the now Leicester player who for much of the last three years appeared disinterested at times.

The sale of Jannik Vestergaard has given us some money, we still have £15 million left over from the Danny Ings sale and now we have doubled that with the sale of the Dane, we need to spend it wisely, a good quality experienced central defender who can organise should fit the bill.

Photo: Action Images

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Centurion added 11:50 - Aug 16
I think Glenn Hoddle had one of the best win ratios.
We need a manager with vision and tactical nous.

dirk_doone added 11:57 - Aug 16
It doesn't really matter whatb the rest of the selection is. If McCarthy plays, we let in 2,3 or more goals and we lose. He has the worst saves to shots ratio in the league. He hasn't kept a single clean sheet for 8 months and in that time he's conceded 41 goals in 15 games. Our only clean sheets have been when Forster has played.

So, conceding 3 was almost inevitable and it will be the next time McCarthy plays as well. It must be totally demoralising for the rest of the team, especially the defence, seeing him in goal behind them.

Colburn added 12:07 - Aug 16
Managers make mistakes, yes, but the same ones week after week will end up in relegation and loss of job. I'm not suggesting Ralph should go now but the signs are exactly the same as last season that he hasn't learned from the repeated mistakes of last season. I'm very concerned...

pintsizedsaint added 12:13 - Aug 16
My thoughts are very similar Nick. This is deja vu and is now a worry. Simple thing is that you need a confident GK and a leader at CB. We have neither at the moment, but the key issue is that McCarthy loses confidence and concentration at key stages of the game. First goal sums it up. Whilst Salisu should have headed away, McCarthy started to come and then stopped. Salisu was expecting the keeper to come rushing in to catch/punch away, but the ball landed nicely for Richarlison and you DO NOT give a player of that quality a chance like that.

Confidence then just evaporated. Defenders not committing/pressing - allowing Everton to dominate. Poor defending and keeping once again shone through.

It needs to be sorted ASAP. Forster needs to start - McCarthy’s form is shot. We also could do with an experienced CB to bed in Salisu and support Bednarek and Stephens (who wasn’t all that bad, but he should be deployed as a defensive midfielder). Cahil? If his wages are ok I say it’s a no brainier. But if we can get a Ben Mee or the like we will be much better off.

saintmark1976 added 12:32 - Aug 16
“Managers make mistakes, that doesn’t mean they should be sacked”. No Nick, but with the error strewn record of mistakes Ralph has, he should have been relieved of his position months ago. At the end of the day the facts speak for themselves.

Fourteen points from the last Twenty Two matches. Two nine-nil defeats in eighteen months. The worst run of consecutive defeats in the club’s history. Continually not knowing his best team. Unfathomable substitutions match after match.And to add insult to injury he thought Walcott was worth a place ahead of Armstrong and Stephens ahead of Bednarek on Saturday. The club have recent funds from transfers and should use the money to terminate his contract immediately.

DellBoyWally added 12:32 - Aug 16
Can't be bothered

derbydog added 12:41 - Aug 16
Time for you to start your annual “Bring in Cahill” campaign?

kenis added 12:58 - Aug 16
I was also very surprised by Tino starting ahead of KWP and Theo ahead of S.Armstrong, but the rest wasnt a surprise. I do think Bednarek will be back in for Man U though. Tino may also be switched to LB to allow KWP back in.

I also dont think RH should be sacked, I think its one game, and only if we are 0 wins and 6+ defeats from our first 10 should it even be being discussed. Runs / short term stats arent the measure, its across the season and with the injuries and lack of squad depth we had (not Ralphs fault / not to be repeated) 15th was ok / acceptable.

I dont think there is any better out there, and we have a playing style and squad to suit that playing style. We need to keep the faith / back the team, players and manager.

The rare Eric Dier type who can be an option at CB and CDM is a problem just dont see who is out there who can do that. We do need competition in both positions, as well at LB, so that means I think two more players are needed, and ideally some PL experienced pros/journeymen, but do we need more departures first?

Cahill I think is too old and on too much cash. We need a Jonny Evans / Craig Dawson type - which basically means looking at relegated clubs needing to clear some money of their wage bills

vanmans added 13:37 - Aug 16
I said yesterday that Ralph needs to get a tactition in to work beside him because his tactical knowledge is zero!!!
Glenn Hoddle was the best we have ever had perhaps we could get him to help Ralph.

allsaint54 added 13:53 - Aug 16
How much longer do we have to put up with the same issues? Yet again we go in at halftime leading & within minutes of the restart the opposition have equalised. You just know another 2nd half loss will follow.
What on earth is being said in the dressing room at halftime?

Ralphs decisions are baffling at best, more likely incompetent & stupid.

McCarthy in goal, why.
We struggled at CB last season, so we sell one of our better ones, no replacement & start Stephens. Surprise surprise we concede 3 goals again.
Armstrong doesn't start or even used as a sub. But no Ralph prefers to use Redmond.

No subs used until 80 min & then 3 at once is utter madness.

Can only see another embarrassing defeat against Man U, even another 9-0.

I used to be very supportive of Ralph but enough is enough.
Time to get rid of him now before relegation is a certainty.


Saintaxidriver added 13:56 - Aug 16
Happy that Ralph is our manager but strange team choices seems to be something we have to accept from him every now and then. I think back to the disasterous choices regarding Danso as when I first started noticing this. This was the first game of the season and not a time for taking risks. Play your best team. Saying some players did well in pre season is an excuse. KWP should have been at right back, Armstrong on right and Tella on left and Stephens has his good games but we all know he is not quite good enough at this level. If players were tired after the summer bring on subs later. And on the matter of subs it is another recurring theme that he leaves it too late when the team clearly is flagging and needs a boost. The best way to deal with the Livramento/KWP situation is I think to play 5 at the back with Livramento (who is tall and strong as well as skillful), Badnarek and Salisu/ incoming in the centre, Perraud and KWP as wing backs, JWP/Romeu/Armstrong in the middle and Adams/Tella/Armstrong (2 of) up front. If Ralphs strange selections continue we will have a hard task to avoid relegation. On the keeper front I think we should sell them both and get one decent keeper because they are both ok but have lost their mojo at this level.

Keesie66 added 14:00 - Aug 16
There is an issue whenever there are so many points of discussion :
- Mcarthy in goal
- Stephens in/ Bednarek out
- Selling Vestegaard with no replacement in place
- 2nd half usual collapse
- KWP on the bench...

Above all we again didn't get a result which is what anything is measured by be it Ralph or Saints....

Mimimum requirements (and we should have the money unless it's in China) are an experience central defender who organises the defence and possibly a fresh GK who will work with the CB/defence... right now against Everton we were missing 2/3 of our team's spine from last season Vestergaard / JWP / Ings and it showed...

LoisDeem added 14:20 - Aug 16
Whilst RH goes crashing on towards the Branfoot ratio (and popularity), Forster moves his ample limbs a lot more than McCarthy, which makes him first choice for that space in front of the sticks -when fit -every time these days.
The problem with these otherwise maverick team selections is those on the pitch are then seen to let the manager down -you choose.

HythePeer added 14:41 - Aug 16
He gets it wrong every week!

Peterx added 15:54 - Aug 16
Livra looks like he can play anywhere. If he was going to spring a surprise and play him then why not in defensive midfield if he knew Romeu and JWP were undercooked.

Also in another comment and something I have always thought is that Stephens could be given a go in defensive midfield.

Then maybe our Plan B is that someone like Livra / Stephens starts in Defensive midfield and drops into a back 3, then Stewie who starts as attacking mid drops into defensive midfield.

But what do I know, what I do know if that opposing managers have worked us out.

Peterx added 16:03 - Aug 16
Another suggestion is too pay someone like Roy Hodgson a few quid to have a tactical discussion and review with RH every now and again. Crystal Palace in my opinion had no business staying up last year and Hodgson made the difference by getting some results that they had no business getting.

To use someone like that as a sounding board could be invaluable and would also convince RH to not go there with some of his stranger selections.

JoeEgg added 16:45 - Aug 16
How long does Ralph need to avoid making the same mistakes regarding team selections, tactics and his appalling use or non-use of substitutes? I honestly believe that both Inga and Vestergard had lost all confidence in Ralph and saw their future prospects brighter elsewhere under a different manager. Rafa's change of tactics found the perfect role for Richardson and won the match for Everton. All Ralph could say, incredibly, was no need for change, the players on the field looked as if they getting their second wind!!
I like the guy's enthusiasm and energy but he clearly hasn't learnt anything from last season. Some of the new players give us at least some reason not too despair completely after just one match but the warning signs are there for all to see. Ralph needs help and needs it fast, and I would love to see him work alongside Eddie Howe who really brings on and develops the young players .
Sadly I cant see it happening and Ralph could soon find himself odds on to become the first Premier League manager to lose his job this season.

PeterL22 added 19:04 - Aug 16
I was surprised by starting eleven - Stewy Armstrong is a definite for me, both because of his movement with or without the ball and his ability in defensive mode; Livramento was a surprise given KWP form last season and his experience, but I don’t think he would have contributed more than Tino (who did well against The Brazilian Tom Daly. What totally confused me was the substitutions. Theo never got into the game at all and could have left at 45mins. Why take your fullback off to replace him with an attacker BUT end up with your most potent attacker (Djnepo) having to drop back. Timing (as always) was too late - I think Tella got one touch of the ball. By the way, I’m a Ralph fan, but sometimes he baffles me!

underweststand added 12:06 - Aug 17
Another game of two halves AND at Goodison Park so how was this any different to the previous 24 years?.
Yes Adam and Tino looken excellent in the first 45 but a whole 90 mins.for an 18 y.o. debutant was a bit ask.

After the break a quick goal gave Everton some belief and knocked back Saints hopes.of a recovery.

Adam needed his namesake Stuart to help create more chances that never came and Che Adams was strangely for quiet for much of the game and Walcott discovered why Everton let him go .

PeterL22 added 15:40 - Aug 17
Joe - I don't think Ralph is even close to Arteta yet!

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