Hasenhuttl issues Southampton relegation warning

Ralph Hasenhuttl says Southampton will be relegated if performances don't improve after describing Saturday's loss to Cardiff as a "disaster".

The Saints slipped back into the bottom three after the Bluebirds came away from St Mary's with a 2-1 win.

Hasenhuttl's men are now 5/1 to drop out of the Premier League, while Cardiff are 4/5 having recorded back-to-back wins in the top-flight for the first time since the 1960s.

It was a stoppage-time winner from Kenneth Zohore that saw the Welsh snatch all three points on the south coast, Southampton having got back on level terms through a 91st minute equaliser from Jack Stephens after Sol Bamba's opener for the visitors.

Having seen a win slip through their grasp the previous week against Burnley following another injury-time goal, Hasenhuttl was left frustrated by his team's failure to see out a game for the second week running.

The Austrian spoke candidly after the full-time whistle, claiming Southampton needed to buck up their ideas if they want to stay in the Premier League.

He said: “I’m so disappointed, I have problems to find the right words. It was a difficult game, as we expected it would be.

“The opponent shot three times on our goal and we conceded two goals. If we [keep doing this] we have no chance to stay in the Premier League, that is for sure.

“Giving points away in that way, it would be very, very difficult. You can talk about tactics and everything else but the way we gave four points away this week has rolled a very big stone in our way and it will take a lot of work to move it.

“It’s a disaster. We have to sleep the night over because at the moment it feels horrible. But maybe it will feel worse, not better, when we wake up in the morning.”

Southampton are next in action against Arsenal on 24th February, a team they got the better of 3-2 in the reverse fixture at St Marys.

The Gunners are 9/20 for the win, with Saints 11/2 and the draw 7/2.

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Hasenhuttl rues Ings blow

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has confirmed that Danny Ings faces another spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

The striker picked up the problem on Saturday in the first half of the 1-1 draw with one of his former teams, Burnley.

He will definitely miss this weekend's match against Cardiff City and is unlikely to play again this month.

Hasenhuttl said: "Danny had made a big step after 20 minutes to the ball and then sprinted and he then had a problem with his hamstring.

"This has cost him another two-three weeks to come back, so that's not good. We miss him because he is a good player for us and a good striker."

Hasenhuttl remains happy with his attacking options even though he sold Manolo Gabbiadini last month while Michael Obafemi and Charlie Austin are not fully-fit.

The Austrian added: "I don't think that we show we have problems to score. We did it in nearly every game and [Nathan] Redmond is having fantastic performances at the moment where he nearly scores every game.

"I don't think our biggest problem isn't being able to score, we should be focused on having more clean sheets in the future."

Ryan Bertrand and Maya Yoshida should be available for the game against the Bluebirds as the former has recovered from injury and the latter has returned to England after representing Japan at the Asian Cup.

Southampton are 3/4 to beat Cardiff and 6/5 to keep a clean sheet against Neil Warnock's side, 1/2 to be relegated this term.

Armstrong pledges Saints focus

Southampton midfielder Stuart Armstrong says he and his team-mates will continue to focus on their own tasks as the Saints battle to preserve their Premier League status.

The South Coast outfit are currently just two points clear of the bottom three and face a massive game on Saturday, when they welcome Cardiff City to St Mary's.

The Bluebirds occupy the final relegation spot as things stand, but would move above the Saints with a victory at the weekend.

And Cardiff will head South boosted by the knowledge that the meeting of the two sides at the Cardiff City Stadium earlier this season finished 1-0 to the hosts, with Callum Paterson netting the only goal of the game.

Armstrong told the Daily Echo: "We like to focus on ourselves and take each game as it comes, as boring as that sounds, because that's the way we like to operate.

"We are looking forward to the next game to make sure we can take as many points as possible.

"It's a big team and a big game, especially when you play someone close to you in the table and we will be looking to make amends for the last time we played them.

"We look to each game as a different game and it will be different this time to how it was the last time we played them. We can only play our own game and see what happens."

Southampton are 8/11 to claim victory on Saturday, with the draw priced at 13/5, while the Saints are 1/16 not to be relegated this season.

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Dyche: Crouch retains hunger

Burnley manager Sean Dyche says that Peter Crouch still has the hunger to make an impact in the Premier League.

The striker turned 38 this week and in one of the more surprising deals in the January transfer window, he returned to the top flight after signing for Burnley from Stoke City.

The deal involves Clarets striker Sam Vokes going the other way and Dyche says the move suits both parties.

He said of Crouch: "He has a hunger to come and make a mark. We know he's a good character and he still has a desire. The main thing for me is having motivated people."

"It is difficult to let Sam go, but he hasn't played as regularly, it could become a win-win situation."

Crouch has made 462 appearances in the Premier League for six different clubs and was part of the Stoke squad that were relegated last season.

Meanwhile Vokes has been at Turf Moor since 2012 and has started 10 Premier League games so far this season but goes in search of regular first team football.

He has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with the Championship club who sit 15th in the table.

Potters boss Nathan Jones said of his new signing: "Sam is a player of real pedigree, he has been promoted from this level and he's an experienced international and Premier League player.

"To get it done is something totally different to anything we have and we think he's a marquee player for this level."

Crouch's new club Burnley are just a place above the Premier League relegation zone, though with a four-point cushion over third bottom Cardiff.

The Clarets, 11/5 to be relegated at the end of the season, face fellow strugglers Southampton at home on Saturday and are 6/4 for the win with the Saints 9/5 and the draw 9/4. Burnley are 15/2 to win the game 1-0.

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Hasenhuttl satisfied by Saints draw

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl says he felt like his team "won" a point in Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace.

The Saints headed into the clash looking for a third straight Premier League victory having enjoyed an upturn in form under Hasenhuttl.

However, they struggled to get going on a cold night at St Mary's and it was Crystal Palace who struck first, Wilfried Zaha opening the scoring four minutes before half-time.

Southampton were able to battle back in the second half when James Ward-Prowse levelled the scores in the 77th minute and pushed hard for a winner late on, aided by Zaha being sent-off in the final 10 minutes.

They couldn't make the breakthrough though as both teams moved four points clear of the relegation zone, with Southampton now 11/1 to go down and Palace 11/1.

Hasenhuttl says his side had to show patience against a well-drilled Eagles team and felt it was a point gained, rather than two dropped.

Hasenhuttl said: “I think it was winning one point and not losing two points. It was more a win for us than Crystal Palace.

“After a difficult first half against a very good team we showed we were not in the rhythm the first 45 minutes after ten days with no game.

“It is not easy to create chances against this team because they are not good organised but our game became better after changing shape with 4-2-2-2 and we had one man more and more chance for the second ball.

“It was an important point and we are very happy to come back against such a team.”

The Austrian went on to add that he hoped to make at least one transfer deadline day signing on Thursday, while he also said that he expects striker Charlie Austin to stay, despite leaving him out of the squad for the Palace clash.

Saints face a huge game on Saturday when they take on Burnley at Turf Moor and are 9/5 for a the win, with the home side 6/4 and the draw 9/4.

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Smaller squad suits Hasenhuttl

Ralph Hasenhuttl has played down the chances of any new players arriving at Southampton before the transfer window closes on Thursday.

The Saints boss has sold Manolo Gabbiadini to Sampdoria this month and allowed Steven Davis, Wesley Hoedt and Cedric Soares to leave St Mary's on loan deals.

The Austrian has not bought any new players in January so far, although he has been linked with Birmingham striker Che Adams and Genk's Joakim Maehle.

Hasenhuttl is happy with the players he has at his disposal though and does not feel under pressure to sign any new recruits.

He said: "If you discuss every player who is linked with us it would take a long time.

"Typical for our transfer period now is that we have spoken about making this group being smaller and I think that showed you two things. One is that we trust in the guys here and create energy in sending a few guys away to make the group smaller and work better with them.

"You can be sure we had our eyes open and if we don't sign a player in this transfer period, we sign one for the summer but do it now, but only if the package is 100 per cent right, otherwise we do nothing."

Southampton are 7/5 to beat Crystal Palace on Wednesday and 9/1 to win the match 2-1.

Hasenhuttl prunes his squad

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has allowed Netherlands international Wesley Hoedt to join Celta Vigo on loan until the end of the season.

The La Liga side have the option to buy the central defender, who has made 13 appearances for Saints this season, in the summer.

Hoedt signed a five-year deal when he moved to St Mary's from Lazio in 2017 in a deal worth £15million.

Steven Davis and Manolo Gabbiadini have also left Southampton this month as Hasenhuttl revamps his squad.

The Austrian has guided Saints to back-to-back Premier League wins against Leicester City and Everton and is keen to maintain the winning habit when his team come up against Crystal Palace, Cardiff City and Burnley in their next three fixtures.

He said: "It's now a little bit of time to be happy about the two wins in a row and then stay hungry and go for the next. I know the players have the willingness to learn.

"I am very happy for them that they see with this kind of playing football and hard-working training sessions they get better every day.

"It's fantastic for them and fantastic for me as a manager."

Southampton can be backed at 1/40 not to be relegated this season while they are 13/10 to beat Crystal Palace in their next Premier League fixture on 30th January.

Hasenhuttl calls for Saints focus

Southampton head coach Ralph Hasenhuttl urged his players to focus on the job in hand in the Premier League, following their exit from the FA Cup.

The Saints lost 5-3 on penalties in a third-round replay against Derby County on Wednesday evening, with the top-flight outfit letting slip a two-goal lead during the game, just as they had done in the original tie in the East Midlands.

That left Hasenshuttl frustrated that his team had been unable to see the game out, while also warning that focus and concentration will need to be much improved on Saturday, when Everton are the visitors to St Mary's.

He told the Daily Echo: "It's a nightmare I think because we had again a big chance to be in the next round and gave it away.

"If you have two times a chance to win and don't do it then you don't deserve to be in the next round, so congratulations to Derby County.

"We have to concentrate on the Premier League now.

"We have to take time to recover very well, because on Saturday we have an important game here at home against Everton. We should be more concentrated in this game than we were here."

Southampton are currently just one point clear of the relegation places, having moved out of the bottom three thanks to a fine 2-1 win at Leicester City last time out.

The Saints are available at 8/1 to be relegated this season, while they are 1/12 to beat the drop.

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Keane hails huge Everton win

Everton defender Michael Keane praised the determination of his side after they defeated Bournemouth 2-0 on Sunday.

The Toffees claimed a first home win in the Premier League since November as second half strikes from Kurt Zouma and Dominic Calvert-Lewin saw them take all three points.

It has been a difficult week for boss Marco Silva, with owner Farhad Moshiri admitting he has been a touch disappointed with how the Portuguese had fared since his summer arrival.

Sunday's result moves Everton up to 10th in the table but they were far from their best, with Bournemouth hitting the post early on and dominating the opening half hour.

However, the home team rallied well and Keane almost opened the scoring when his first half header skidded off the bar.

The 25-year-old admitted afterwards that his team struggled early on but after eventually hitting their stride, hopes Sunday's performance can help them surge up the table and towards the European places.

Keane told Sky Sports: "It's a huge win. We have obviously had a few difficult results at home over Christmas so we are pleased to keep a clean sheet.

"It was a slow start but we grew into the game and the result is what we needed."

Next up for the Toffees is Saturday's trip to Southampton, a game they are 13/8 to win, with the draw 11/5 and the resurgent Saints priced at 17/10.

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Gabbiadini returns to Italy

Ralph Hasenhuttl will turn his attention towards strengthening his Southampton squad after selling Manolo Gabbiadini to Sampdoria for £12million.

The 27-year-old Italian moved to St Mary's from Napoli in January 2017 for £14million and scored six goals in his first four games for the club.

However, it was downhill from then on for the striker who only scored one league goal for Saints this term.

In total he found the net 10 times in 51 Premier League games for the club, 5/1 to be relegated this season.

Hasenhuttl, who allowed Steven Davis to join Rangers earlier this week, said of Gabbiadini: "If you are a new manager at a new club you get the first impressions of the player and it seems to me he is a good player with fantastic technique but with this intensive pressing system we try to play, to be honest, it's not his way of playing.

"It was better to find a solution that good for both sides.

"I think it's a good step for him to go back to Italy and I wish him all the best. He's a fantastic player."

Of any potential new arrivals, the Austrian added: "We have problems with injuries among our forwards but we don't want to be hurried so we need to think about it and, if you are 100 per cent sure this guy makes us better, then take the decision."

Southampton are available at 10/3 to beat Leicester City on Saturday and 14/1 to win the match 2-1.