Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 9 December 2019

Under pressure Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl says Premier League 'a marathon, not a sprint'

A much-needed win against Watford last time out ended a run of eight games without victory for the Saints, who next face fellow strugglers Norwich

Ralph Hasenhuttl heads into Wednesday's Premier League match with Southampton having halted an eight-game winless run with victory over Watford. Reuters
Ralph Hasenhuttl heads into Wednesday's Premier League match with Southampton having halted an eight-game winless run with victory over Watford. Reuters

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said the Premier League season "is a marathon, not a sprint" as speculation grows about the Austrian's future with the club mired in relegation trouble.

Saints face fellow strugglers Norwich City on Wednesday one place and a solitary point above the promoted Canaries in 18th place.

"It is a marathon, not a sprint and we know how to handle it," Hasenhuttl said when asked if he was feeling under pressure to save his job. Southampton sacked former manager Mark Hughes exactly a year ago with the club in the same position they are in now.

"I knew the job I'd take on wasn't the easiest one because of our limitations. We have a special way of developing young players ... That takes time," he said.

A much-needed win for Hasenhuttl's squad over bottom-club Watford ended a poor run of eight games without a win to give them 12 points from 14 matches.

"The way we showed how committed we are in the last few weeks is special and a signal that it was absolutely right to come here."

That victory looks to have given the former RB Leipzig boss some breathing space at the South Coast club with the Premier League managerial sack race now in full swing.

Quique Sanchez Flores was relieved of his duties following Watford's loss to the Saints on Saturday after only 10 games and 85 days in charge. It was the Hornets' second managerial change of the season after Flores replaced fellow Spaniard Javi Gracia in September while Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal have parted company with Mauricio Pochettino and Unai Emery respectively.

Hasenhuttl said Sofiane Boufal had aggravated a toe injury against Watford and could miss the Norwich match. The Morocco midfielder stubbed his big toe on a kitchen table last week but came on as a substitute in the Watford game.

"It got worse after the last game, the reaction wasn't the best one, so for tomorrow it'll be difficult," Hasenhuttl told reporters.

"Maybe for the bench, but not for the start of the match. It's not positive but he will not train today due to pain," he added.

"He showed in the last game how important he is ... we hope the injury gets better, we have a lot of games."

Updated: December 3, 2019 05:30 PM

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