Southampton’s decision to extend key club figure’s stay by 3 more years is the right step – Here’s why


Why Southampton’s new deal for coach Ralph Hasenhuttl is a move in the right direction

According to The Sun, Ralph Hasenhuttl has agreed to a deal in principle to sign a new three-year contract at Southampton.

The 52-year-old has one more year left in his current contract. Despite that, the Saints boss is ready to pen a fresh three-year agreement with his current side. Hasenhuttl became the first Austrian to manage a club in the Premier League when he took charge of Southampton in December 2018, succeeding Mark Hughes.

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl celebrates with his players. (Getty Images)
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl celebrates with his players. (Getty Images)

During the time of his appointment, the Saints sat at the bottom of the table, one point away from safety. His first game in charge ended in a 1-0 defeat to Cardiff City. His first win came on December 16th against Arsenal, where his Southampton side overcame Arsenal 3-2, ending the latter’s four-month 22-game unbeaten streak in the top-flight.

Hasehuttl, who arrived in England with a big reputation after his eye-catching displays in Germany, finally proved his credentials true by helping Southampton stay in the top-flight. He helped the Saints finish 16th in his debut season there, saving them from an almost certain relegation.

A torrid display early this season, including a 9-0 thrashing at the hands of Leicester City, made many of them doubt the Austrian’s appointment. Many in the footballing community criticised him for Southampton’s poor show following the side’s downfall into the relegation zone.

ralph hasenhuttl
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl celebrates after a win. (Getty Images)

The side clearly looked en route to another horrendous campaign, however, Hassenhuttl quickly turned the tables around, once again keeping up to his reputation. Midway through the season, Hasenhuttl’s Southampton won four out of their five encounters, changing the whole dynamics of the table.

Suddenly, they saw themselves safe from all the relegation threat that was surrounding them. Of those four wins, three came against heavyweights such as Chelsea, whom they beat 0-2 away, Tottenham (1-0), and Leicester, against whom they got their revenge by defeating them 1-2 away.

Now with nine games still remaining in the season, Hasenhuttl is a safe man, guiding Southampton to an even better finish than last year.

Danny Ings of Southampton acknowledges the fans following the Premier League match between Leicester City and Southampton FC at The King Power Stadium on January 11, 2020 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Getty Images)
Danny Ings has been sensational for Southampton this season under Ralph Hasenhuttl, scoring a massive 15 goals in the league. (Getty Images)

They have already won more games this season compared to what they managed last season. A proven performer back in Germany, Hasenhuttl’s new deal thus sounds like good news for the Saints.

Hassenhuttl had earlier established himself as a successful manager by leading newly-promoted side RB Leipzig to a second-place finish in their debut season (2016-17) in the Bundesliga.

Hasenhuttl had already raised a few eyebrows in Germany before this by taking FC Ingolstadt from the bottom of the German second division to tenth place in his first season as manager in 2013.

The very next year, he led Ingolstadt to the Bundesliga for the very first time in their history after emerging as second division champions. Having proved his credentials as a result-oriented manager, he clearly looks like the right person to guide the Saints forward.

Ralph Hasenhuttl during his time as RB Leipzig coach.
Ralph Hasenhuttl during his time as RB Leipzig coach. (Image credits: Bundesliga)

However, what makes his new deal even more appealing is that he has proved that he can produce results even during crisis, like guiding Southampton from an almost certain abyss this season.

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Southampton was a sinking boat when he had arrived in England. However, he succeeded in saving them. Moreover, in a year and a half, he has led them to 14th place in the table. He deserves some credit for the team’s improvement. Southampton’s decision to offer him more time thus looks like a move in the right direction.