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Ralph Hasenhuttl Has To Be Given Time To Finish The Job He Started
Wednesday, 6th Oct 2021 09:50

When Ralph Hasenhuttl arrived at Southampton the team was in disarray after three managers in the space of 16 months, but he has brought back stability to the club, now he has to be given the time to complete the task he started back in December 2018.

When Ralph Hasenhuttl arrived at Saints, they were a club who the previous season had only escaped relegation in the final week of the season and back in December 2018 things did not look good, Saints were already in a relegation dogfight and Mark Hughes had made a pigs ear of the start to the season.

Not only that but the squad was top heavy with players who had arrived for big fee's and salary's and were not playing to the standard that was expected.

But the Austrian came in and turned things around and began what was never going to be a short term task of rebuilding a squad, but with so many players taking wages out of the kitty and not contributing being hampered by having little funds to do so.

But after his half season success in turning things around, he has now had two full seasons in which he has achieved finishes of 11th and 15th in the Premier League, plus an FA Cup semi final, not something that has happened a lot in most Saints fans lifetimes.

Last season ended in disappointment after promising so much, but the side that slid down the table from the top spot it had occupied earlier in the season was not the same side, it was one ravaged by injuries and the slide was beyond the control of the manager.

Now the financial shackles are loosening at St Mary's and big wages have been got off the books enabling new players to be bought and the squad to start to be strengthened.

Yes the start to the season was always going to be difficult, the corresponding 8 fixtures with which we opened last season yielded just 3 points and we have already got more than that with one fixture to go of what has been a tough opening spell.

These first 8 were never going to be the ones that define the season, however the next 8 might well be !

So those calling for Hasenhuttl to go are being very short sighted, he has brought a stability to the club that has been lacking since Chris Nicholl was sacked over 30 years ago, indeed amazingly Ralph is already the longest serving manager since Nicholl left in 1991.

This perhaps highlights why we have underperformed for much of the last three decades, no manager aside from Ralph has managed to stay over 2 1/2 years and so we have lurched from one regime to another.

The Austrian has done a superb job in very difficult circumstances and it is hard to see who would have done better with the situation he had to work under.

Money is not the answer to Saints problems in a Premier League where spending guarantees you nothing these days unless you have a Russian oligarch or Middle Eastern Royal Family member owning the club.

These days it is very easy to start shouting for the managers head the moment something has gone wrong, but that is very short sighted, a year ago Saints and Brighton's positions were reversed, we were in the top 5 and the Seagulls hovering around the relegation zone.

Some Brighton fans were demanding the sacking of a manager who had taken them to their highest ever League finish in 2019/20, but after a poor start to the season was criticised for having no charisma, he pulled things round and this season his team have prospered.

Now some Saints fans have forgotten what Hasenhuttl did a year ago and are saying he should go.

But as I said earlier the first 8 games were always going to be tough, indeed we have played 4 of the top 5 clubs, 2 more in the top half and only Newcastle of the teams likely to be in relegation trouble.

To get 4 points from those games so far is not bad going, not great in terms of points, but given the teams we have played ok.

I am not saying that Ralph has not made mistakes, sometimes I think some of his selections are baffling, but he has learned from his mistakes and he has not been afraid to change things around both in terms of personnel and formation.

I am not saying that Ralph Hasenhuttl should never be sacked, I am only saying now is not the time to do it, his critics will point to the second half of last season, but that was largely a situation he could not control.

The next 8 games will go a long way to showing whether the Austrian is the man to take us forward or not, but he has to be given that time, he deserves it for the way he has soldiered on in difficult circumstances.

Now the purse strings have loosened a little, we are building a squad of some good young players and we seem to have sorted out our recruitment process's.

Of course we would all like an owner who could put in money, but we should be careful what we wish for, Burnley were sold a year ago and many lamented why we could not attract rich American owners, since then a once debt free club has been leveraged to put the cost of the purchase on the club itself and they are in the bottom three.

The real worry though is just who we could get in, there seems to be two default choices, managers with a reputation who have occasionally done it but mainly not, think Mark Hughes and topically Claudio Ranieri who has just joined Watford or those that have never done it in the first place, think Eddie Howe the former Bournemouth manager, ironically many who claim the club has no ambition to do anything but survive are usually those that are suggesting that Howe a man whose best year with Bournemouth is not much better than the 15th we achieved last season.

Overall though it is about stability and changing manager every time there is a crisis is not always the best solution, at the moment there is nothing wrong that a couple of wins won't put right and we now have a run of games where we can get those wins.

When we have played 16-19 games we will know where this season is going, then is the time that we may have to take a hard look at the manager, until then we should have the faith in him that he has shown he has deserved in nearly 3 years in charge.

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halftimeorange added 10:24 - Oct 6
A reasonable enough summary. I think that most EPL clubs now have at least one player who can turn a game but, since Ings went we've lost that. Given that we fritter chances like water through a sieve, other sides don't fear us and know that it's easy to separate our midfield from our attack, such as it is. I don't lay too much blame at Ralph's door and I, too, welcome the stability he's brought to the club. What I don't get is his regular meddling with the line-up. For example, I haven't seen anything wrong with Perraud but, I see a weakness playing the right-footed KWP in his place when the latter could be better employed in front or behind Livramento. I don't think Ralph knows his best starting eleven which, given that we're seven games into the season, is a worry. If we are still plumbing the depths around the end of November the board will likely have to react, irrespective of whether they and us think Ralph is a nice guy. The next eight games is going to be a telling time.

saintmark1976 added 10:57 - Oct 6
“These days it’s very easy to start shouting for the managers head the moment something has gone wrong”.

That’s the whole point though Nick, it hasn’t gone wrong in a moment, it’s consistently wrong. Two 9-0 defeats in eighteen months.The worst run of consecutive defeat in the club’s history. The lowest points total of any team in the Premiership during the whole of 2021.More points dropped from winning positions than any other team in the Premiership. An F A cup semi final without one attempt on the opposing teams goal.Bizarre team selection and clueless substitutions match after match.

I’m all for giving him a fair crack of the whip.Ralph has had his opportunity and by any metric has failed. For the sake of the club and their supporters he needs to go now.

wrathoftazz added 11:22 - Oct 6
2 9nil defeats, worst performing team 2020, stupid low points since December 2020 and that's 3 years into the job...

The only thing he has managed is to thin the squad and in all fairness, that would have happened anyway when contracts ended.

His subs are crazy, his blaming everyone apart from his self is juvenile and his tatics are from a "how to" guide on the Internet.

How can u justify more time to finish a job when he is no further on than when he started? If we do end up in a relegation battle this season (as it is looking like) then I would argue he has done NOTHING and we are in the same spot as when he started.

Centurion added 11:59 - Oct 6
I'm with Nick on this one.
Let's see where we sit in the table come the end of November.

Colburn added 12:01 - Oct 6
Very short sighted...? This is becoming a joke.. Wherever you stand on Raloh, 4 wins in 28 games can hardly be seen as short sighted, unless you are ignoring these facts... The problem is, you encourage a more determined stance from those who think his time is up when you make such ridiculous comments as 'very short-sighted'.. Which suggests a less balanced viewpoint when in fact most are merely pointing out the stats from this horrendous run which would have seen any other manager at any other of the 91 clubs lose their job. I suggest you name a club who wouldn't have made a change by now...
I think it is you who is short-sighted and out of touch with reality. Look at the impact the change from Adkins to Poch, same players, different approach. I believe Lampard would achieve this too and we should move as quickly as possible to bring him in before it's too late. After all, we saw against Wolves what Ralph does against a team we should have beaten. After such a poor run this was unacceptable, as were two 9-0 defeats when you look at the last couple of years in their entirity.

JoeEgg added 13:10 - Oct 6
"The first eight matches were never going to be easy"!!! What an absolutely crazy thing to say. This is the Premier Leage - the games are never going to be easy. Wolves I suppose was going to be easy - but we lost. West Ham was one of the impossible to win games and what did Brentford do to West Ham last weekend? So I suppose Nick adds Brentford to the list of games that were never going to be easy!
Ralph has had enough time. Ings leaving for Villa speaks volumes about what our star player thought about Ralph's methods. His team selections, his tactics, his substitutions and even his after the match comments , have had three years to mature and adapt to the Premier League standards. They haven't.
Our next game is against an injury hit and struggling Leeds United, but nevertheless a team quite capable of beating us at the present time. If Ralph fails to get in right over the next four or five matches, I'm sorry but it will be time for him to be replaced. In his favoiur he has a much stronger squad of players, with more depth and certainly more quality. Lack of confidence and lack of goals are against him. Its make or break time for Ralph, before we must turn to the likes of Eddie Howe if we are to make the most of a really promising set of players who should even by now be comfortably sitting in the top ten.

WestSussexSaint added 13:20 - Oct 6
Whether you are in the "Ralph Out" or "Ralph should stay" camps (and I'm currently in the stay camp), I think most Saints supporters agree that the next 5 games are critical both for our season and Ralphs future.

Realistically 10 points from those games and I would think that is a reasonable return. Less than 6 and I will also be joining the "Ralph Out" camp.

JoeEgg added 13:32 - Oct 6
Sorry folks but I couldn't add this comment to my observations above. I take great offence at the childish way Nick dismisses the achievements of Eddie Howe whilst at Bournemouth. I prefer to rely on the comments of Harry Redknapp who knows both Bournemouth and Sants well:
'What he achieved is a miracle'
Former Bournemouth boss Harry Redknapp, who managed the club from 1983 to 1992 and took them into the second tier of English football for the first time in their history in 1987, predicts Howe will be "back in the Premier League soon".

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I am very surprised. I felt sure he would look to get the club back up next season. The job he has done has been incredible.

"He took a club struggling in the third tier into the championship - which was a miracle - and then into the Premier, which I thought was impossible to do.

"Then for five years he had us playing incredible football, beating everybody at different times - it has been amazing.

"The stadium only holds 11,000 people, they had no right to get in the Premier League. For 100 years they were never out of division three or four. No disrespect but it would be like Rochdale, or clubs like that, coming into Premier League. It has been incredible.3

It is also totally false to say that the best he achieved was 15th! I seem to recall a remarkable 9th place?

I hope this helps to put the record right.

Ali_Diarea added 13:38 - Oct 6
I’m in the ‘Ralph in, Gao out’ camp.
We sold our top scorer, replaced him with a player from the championship, our four wingers would struggle to get into any other premier league team, our defence is often described on this site as championship level. Ralph is clearly frustrated with the lack of quality at his disposal, especially in the final third.

I think Ralph is a solid premier league manager with one arm tied behind his back.
Apart from Che and JWP none of our players score more than a couple of goals a season, so why are we surprised that we’re not scoring goals?

I think some Saints fans are deluded about the strength of our squad and the ambitions of our owner

SaintPaulVW added 13:41 - Oct 6
I like Ralph, I like his style of play. I hope he has learned from trying to get too much out of the same first team players which did for us last year. He has been held back by £80 million spent on players to sit on other team's benches. Since the Everton game, his substitutions have been better, however once again went wrong at the end of the Chelsea game. I also think he needs a decent assistant or assistants to present him with other options during a match and in particular work with our attacking players off the pitch.

Having said all that, if he doesn't get a reasonable return out of the next 5 games including several wins his position should quite rightly be in jeopardy.

It's a results business.


Colburn added 15:10 - Oct 6
Ings, Bertrand and Vestergaard could not wait to get out of the club this summer, so clearly they didn't see a future with Ralph. I suppose they are short sighted too..? Danny Ings, your king of the scummers.. That was a bit short sighted of you wasn't it..? Lol..

Block8 added 15:38 - Oct 6
I'm still in the undecided corner currently, not sitting on the fence but concerned that the grass isn't always greener. We have seen this ourselves, more than once. We have a style that is now predictable but there are recent signs that there just might be a plan B My biggest worry is that there appears to be no one, on the staff, with the gonads to stand up to what looks like a stubborn streak in Ralph's personality? Is it a coincidence that our performances and team/subs decisions have gone downhill since Danny Röhl left us.
Sometimes a partnership just clicks (Clough & Taylor) but individually they are less affective? Ralph's tenure clearly hangs on results over the next two months but maybe he just needs someone to bounce ideas off that is willing to offer alternative tweaks!

PaleRider added 17:46 - Oct 6
I'm with you Block 8. Not only is there no able assistant but there are also no leaders on the pitch, which I don't think is a coincidence.

I'm also concerned about who we might get if Ralph leaves because the root of the problem is the owner. In another thread, nobody could say what Gao has done well because frankly he's done nothing well. We appear to be a shambles on and off the pitch. Whenever people complain about Gao the apologists say "he could be worse" or "you can't expect a Man City type owner" - although this is true, I don't want that. What I want is a Tony Bloom type owner; Brighton are currently an excellent model of a community centred club.

DorsetIan added 18:27 - Oct 6
Ralph has at least one hand tied behind his back because of Gao. So difficult to judge him too harshly.

But results in 2021 so far have been p1ss poor, and part of the problem is Ralph‘s frequently mysterious tactical decisions.

i also think he is overly optimistic about things. He thinks we are good enough to play a different Team every week - we‘re not, we need more stability. He also keeps playing players who have consistently underperformed - particularly, Redmond, Walcott and Djennepo. Complete wishful thinking to believe they goIng to deliver goals or chances on a consistent basis.

felly1 added 19:11 - Oct 6
Clearly the next 6 or so games are critical and if all doesn't go well it will surely be bye bye Ralph.
I want him to succeed and he deserves a little more time in my opinion.
Although I agree with many of the posts above that it's daft to gloss over the calamitous form and the frankly woeful, erratic and lightweight players that make up a reasonable chunk of our squad. It's hard not to feel any other manager after the honeymoon period ends will struggle with an under invested squad we clearly have.

SanMarco added 19:46 - Oct 6
Ralph has, of course, been given a fair bit of time already. It is nearly three years now. Puel got one year and he came 8th and nearly (should have) won a cup. In saying this I don't mean he shouldn't be given more time but those who condemn "Ralph Out" fans should remember this - he has already been given a pretty unprecedented amount of time given his distinctly mixed record. The argument that we might replace him with someone worse is a good one but one that always applies.

To say he needs more time to 'finish the job he started' begs the question as to what that job was/is. It is presumably more than just staying up. Entertaining football? You do really need to score goals for that surely. Challenging for Europe? Hah. Lower mid-table or at least keeping us clear of relegation battles? That is surely the bare minimum and as many have been saying the next few games are crucial for that. A poor return from the next five or six and his position will be very difficult - whatever his unfinished 'job' is.

kingolaf added 21:29 - Oct 6
Give Ralph another 8 games and we’ll be nigh on relegated.

Terrible manager. tactically out of his depth and schooled every week by his opposite number.

davidargyll added 08:49 - Oct 7
The usual mix of views about Ralph for and against.
So who is right? Is he in the last chance saloon or not?
The first thing to say is that the Board is clearly behind him as is the dressing room even if the fans are - if this blog is anything to go by - divided.
So far so obvious.
But I think both sides of the argument have to be realistic. Ralph has kept us up, but whenever a club is in the bottom third, alarm bells ring constantly. But equally clubs outside the top six or seven do go in cycles and players come and go, are in form and out of form, get better and worse, and importantly get older. And we are no different.
But surely as a policy it’s better to keep investing in youth rather than older players? This gives you a future which isn’t as costly as having a bunch of ego-inflated has beens.
And all those who bang on about how selling Danny Ings was a mistake, note he hasn’t exactly been knocking the lights out at Villa since he left for a ludicrously overinflated price.
And even if we can’t agree about whether or not Ralph’s tactics and team selection are good bad or indifferent, all this is decided by what he sees on the training ground and in games, it’s rather more than guesswork which I get the feeling a lot of people on here think.
What I do see is that our defence is better, albeit still work-in-progress but, yes, we are lacking a lot of incisiveness up front.
But changing the manager isn’t going to instantly make Che or Adam or Moussa or even Tino mega goal scorers. Confidence is what’s required and I frankly do not see any other available manager being able to be more motivating. If so who are they? Our players are much more confident than they were but OK the results aren’t coming. Yet. But I am convinced they will. Because I like the way we play now and we do get the ball up there, just not in to the back of the net.
Whereas I didn’t like our style such as it was under Puel or Pellagrino and especially Hughes: they were all worse than headless chickens and we played accordingly. Ralph is light years ahead of that bunch and we are lucky to have him.
PS. Eddie Howe? do me a favour, he was just a cry baby who had lost the Bournemouth dressing room weeks before they went down. And if he was any good, why wasn’t he offered the usual five minutes at Watford? He’s a no better than a good championship manager. End of.


saintinexile added 15:35 - Oct 8
Give him a few more games if you must. To become tactically aware, have a plan B, learn how and when to use subs, play players in their natural positions, stop puting out ridiculous lineups and repeating the same mistakes virtually every game. He's a nice guy, apparently. Nice doesn't translate into results. Being paid more than he is worth. Embarassing score lines. On the back of his PL experience he will easily get a job in Austria, Germany, maybe Spain and Saints can employ a manager to get the best from our limited resources.

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