Saints put on alert as new boss considers clear out
Southampton’s floundering footballers have been put on alert by new manager Ralph Hasenhuettl, who has hinted a number of the squad will likely be shown the door in January.
“I think the squad is very big,” the former Austrian international striker told reporters. “So we have a lot of positions where we have too many players and maybe one or the other is leaving us and we bring something new.
“I have spoken with the chairman about that and they do everything to help my wishes.”
Hasenhuettl is already building up a rapport with club chairman Ralph Krueger, who not only shares a first name with the coach but also can speak to him in his mother tongue German.
“We have a very good youth academy in this club and it’s a goal for us to bring them forward again,” the coach told Southampton newspaper the Daily Echo.
“In history there were a lot coming … out of the youth academy and that’s the goal for the future. We want these guys to perform, to develop.”
Southampton languish in 18th place in the league, having narrowly avoided the drop last season thanks to the late-season efforts of managerial firefighter Mark Hughes, released by Saints after the weekend’s 2-2 draw with Manchester United.
Hasenhuettl watched his new side’s 3-1 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night before taking the reins, and his first match is at Cardiff on Saturday.
“The first target is to get out of this relegation zone,” he said. “It is tough with our schedule over Christmas. I am not frightened about it, but the problem is we have a lot of games in the coming days.”
With just nine points from their opening 15 matches, Southampton are above bottom side Fulham and 19th-placed Burnley only on goal difference. A win on Saturday would see them leapfrog Cardiff, two places above them with two points more.
REUTERS/Reporting by Ossian Shine Editing by David Holmes