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Football News: Southampton still have one of the league's most exciting managers

Southampton still have one of the league's most exciting managers
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New season, new optimism. Southampton still have one of the league's most exciting managers, off the pitch, the club has found more stability and purpose and we have signed 3 exciting young players who could be fun to watch progress.

However, the transfer window wasn't prefect. We still seem to be a full back short (arguably on both sides of the pitch), our midfield looks a little light in depth and experience and our attack currently poses more questions than answers. For us to have a good season, we'll need luck with injuries to avoid exposing these issues and last season's remaining players must make a further step forward in their performance levels. Still, I'd rather be in our position than someone like Crystal Palace.

Whilst we have no control over luck, we do have a manager proving his coaching ability as Ralph Hassenhutl ensured the team played better than they have for a couple of seasons with a clear strategy. In his 23 league games in charge we won 30 points, averaging 1.3 per game and dramatically improved our goal difference from -23 under MH to +3 by the end of the season. That's not to say we were defensively perfect. Anything but, as we still conceded 32 goals in those 23 games, which is far too many. However, there was a clear improvement and the caveat for last season is that Hassenhutl didn't have time to instil his detailed approach to the players as he joined mid-season. With the extra time over the summer to build a squad to his liking and coach the players more accurately, we should see a steady improvement in team performances over the course of the season.

Skimming around the media over the last couple of days, it would seem most feel we haven't done enough in the transfer window, which is fair but several still feel we'll be better this season than last do to the RH factor. A handful of pundits however still consider us a team at risk of relegation. Presumably that's because we didn't sign any well known, established names and for some that is the be all and end all. Rio Ferdinand no doubt has considered each team's form, their squads, coaches, styles of play, player's experience and statistics in deciding that Saints will be one of the three relegated teams at the end of this season rather than simply thinking we were close last season and haven't signed anyone he's heard of.

But I'm pleased to see that Rio Ferdinand is one of the few people with a platform who thinks this way. Most pundits have plumped for the promoted three (shock) and most journalists who are more likely to have pored over the reference points I listed above, consider us more likely to be a midtable side this season. RH seems to have set a realistic target of somewhere between 9 and 14 place. This really should be an achievable target and I for one feel confident we will get there.

So ignore the ignorant pundits and bask in your own positivity for the season ahead. Make no snap judgements when we lose about the players or coaching. The season is a marathon not a sprint. Enjoy a more aggressive, battling style of play that we all wished for before RH came. Enjoy us winning and drawing more than we lose, conceding fewer goals and scoring more. We may even have a little cup run if the draw is kind. New season, new optimism. That's the most important change at the club in 2 years.

Written by elfigo August 10 2019 11:36:58


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