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Friday, October 30, 2020

Southampton boss Hasenhuttl reveals Sir Alex encouragement after humiliating 9

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The legendary former Manchester United boss reached out to the Austrian despite the two never having met before

Ralph Hasenhuttl has said legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson texted him a message of encouragement after Southampton fell 9-0 to Leicester in October.

The defeat put the Saints boss under huge pressure as he saw his side drop into the relegation zone and the club’s winless run extended to eight games.

After being appointed in December 2018, Hasenhuttl’s time at St. Mary’s could have ended less than a year into his contract. 

But Southampton’s hierarchy kept faith in the Austrian boss and were rewarded with a strong run of form that included wins over Chelsea and Tottenham, and a 2-1 victory over Leicester in January in the reverse fixture.

Hasenhuttl has revealed that following his side’s humiliating defeat to the Foxes he heard from the former Manchester United boss, despite never having met him before. 

“I received an SMS from Alex Ferguson – I didn’t know him. If I had never lost 9-0 I would have never had contact with him,” Hasenhuttl told ‘The Football Show’ on Sky Sports.

“That was the positive thing from the result. It really helped me. It gave me a lift as I was down and was looking for something to hold onto.

“I will have to live with this result my whole life. But when we won 2-1 in the rematch, the story is a good one. It’s helped me become a more experienced manager.”

Hasenhuttl has paid tribute to Southampton chief executive Martin Semmens, saying his faith has been greatly appreciated and admitting his sacking would have been justified after the Leicester defeat. 

“If I was in his [Semmens] place, I would have sacked me,” Hasenhuttl said. “We were hopeless, an absolute disaster.

“But Martin said that he knew how much I’d invested in the club. He was 100 per cent sure we’d get back to successful days. We had lost some of our direction, especially myself.

“The reaction from the team was fantastic. We made the right decisions, changed the shape. I was getting back to what made my teams strong and this gave us the belief we could turn this around.

“The last answer for what we did was the second league game against Leicester. Normally as a coach you don’t have a chance to turnaround, normally it’s the next manager that gets the chance, not you. I did get that chance and was very thankful.”

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