Who is new Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl? Tactics, trophies & transfers
- October 10, 2019
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The Saints have confirmed the Austrian as their new manager until June 2021 after sacking Mark Hughes at the start of the week
Southampton’s hunt for a new manager was short-lived as former RB Leipzig manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has taken up the post on the south coast.
The Saints will be looking to their new man to steer them away from relegation – Goal looks at what Southampton can expect from the Austrian’s time in charge.
Hasenhuttl has previously been described as the ‘anti-Guardiola’. His philosophy is primarily dominated by a pressing style with counter attacking play when they are on the ball.
Despite finishing second in the Bundesliga with RB Leipzig in the 2016-17 season, their passing accuracy was only 75 per cent. With many of their goals coming from through balls into Timo Werner, it is clear to see that Hasenhuttl is not an advocate of tiki-taka.
The personnel at his disposal made this possible. Werner was fed ball by Naby Keita, Marcel Sabitzer and Emil Forsberg, making it a viable tactic as those three midfielders all had the capabilities to unlock a defence with one pass.
At Southampton he may try to replicate this, James Ward-Prowse and Stuart Armstrong are good passers of the ball and Danny Ings certainly has the pace to get in behind a defence.
Hasenhuttl’s style may be perfectly suited to the bottom half of the Premier League. An organised team who are direct when they are on the ball can certainly be effective when trying to battle relegation. Austria’s very own Sam Allardyce.
He is also a big believer in adapting his style of play depending on his opposition.
“Every opposition needs to be played in a different way and the formation depends on the opposition’s strengths,” Hasenhuttl told Football Paradise earlier this year. “But we trained [mostly] with 4-2-2-2, 4-4-3 and 3-4-3 because we could adapt that for most games.”
Hasenhuttl is yet to win a major trophy in his managerial career but that isn’t to say that he hasn’t achieved anything.
The Austrian led RB Leipzig to a second-place finish in 2016-17, making it one of the best finishes for a newly promoted team in Bundesliga history. He set numerous records with Leipzig that season, such as the highest number of consecutive wins in a debut season and longest unbeaten run in a debut season.
He also won promotion twice with two different clubs VFR Aalen (third tier) and FC Ingolstadt (second tier) in 2012 and 2015 respectively.
Hasenhuttl’s transfer strategy is very compatible with the way that Southampton have conducted their business in recent years.
The 51-year-old has been excellent at signing players and making them stars rather than bringing them through himself. The ex-Leipzig manager oversaw the rise of Germany striker Werner and Liverpool midfielder Keita during his first season at the club. Keita subsequently fetched a near £60 million transfer fee for his Anfield switch, with Werner being valued even higher than that.
Southampton themselves conduct their business in a similar way, bringing in players and turning them into world-class talent – Virgil van Dijk, Victor Wanyama, Sadio Mane and Morgan Schneiderlin have all left the club for huge fees after being signed on the cheap.
The Saints should be able to continue signing future world class players with Hasenhuttl at the helm and there are already two signings that he could be lining up. Ademola Lookman and Oliver Burke are two British players who played under Hasenhuttl at Leipzig. Both players aren’t seeing enough playtime at Everton and West Brom respectively.
Hasenhuttl got the best out of Lookman with the winger scoring five times in 11 appearances for Leipzig last season and he clearly rates Burke giving him 25 league appearances aged just 19 during his season at Leipzig.