In a recent interview with Football FanCast, Dean Windass has claimed that Ralph Hasenhuttl has not underachieved during his time at Southampton and that he has, perhaps, been a victim of his own success.
In an exclusive interview with FFC, Windass said:
“There’s a lot of managers now and it will depend on how they start next season off next season, the first points on the board, they will want to win the first game as quickly as possible, because he’s underachieved this year.
“But that’s a big statement – have Southampton underachieved [overall] this season? No. But because of where they were at, and then all of a sudden they have dropped.
“If you asked Matt Le Tissier, ‘are you happy with Southampton’s season?’, he would go ‘unbelievable’. Delighted. When I played, Southampton were always in the bottom four or five. It’s about results and staying in the Premier League.”
However, plenty of Southampton fans might disagree with Windass’ comments.
The Austrian endured a nightmare start to his Southampton career, with the Saints looking like serious relegation candidates for a lot of last season, before they turned their season around in the second half of the campaign, particularly impressing after project restart.
This left a lot of Saints fans extremely optimistic for the season ahead and it was easy to see why when they started the season in superb fashion, topping the league after a 2-0 win against Newcastle United in November.
However, their league form since January has been abhorrent, with just two wins against Burnley and Sheffield United to their name, with a solitary draw against Chelsea meaning they have taken seven points from their last 15 top-flight games – managers have certainly been sacked for less.
Does Hasenhuttl deserve to stay?
This is undoubtedly relegation form and whilst their early-season performances should be enough to save them this season, it is a huge concern ahead of the next campaign.
The FA Cup semi-final defeat against Leicester City recently may well have been the final straw for some Southampton fans, as they failed to register a single shot on target at Wembley.
Granted, the Austrian manager has had to deal with injury problems that have seriously exposed the lack of squad depth at the club but if they are able to strengthen the squad in the summer and results do not improve, then club chairman Jisheng Gao could soon be left with a huge decision to make regarding Hasenhuttl’s future at the club.