Hasenhüttl : "We must keep working together"

Adama Traore didn't get much change out of Saints defence on Monday night

Saints head into today's fixture with Manchester United on the back of a seven-match unbeaten run.

Wins over Burnley, West Bromwich Albion, Everton, Aston Villa and Newcastle compliment gritty and determined draws against Chelsea and Wolves.

One of the key factors during that positive run has been Saints ability to largely stop opposition playmakers from dictating the flow of the game.

Over the past few weeks, James Rodriguez, Jack Grealish (at least until the 90th+ minute....), Allan Saint-Maximin and Adama Traore have all offered limited threats to Ralph Hasenhüttl's side.

But it hasn't just been down to luck and/or those players all having 'off days'.

Instead, most of the credit can go to a very committed and organised defensive approach from Hasenhüttl's team, which sees two, three or four Saints players quickly swarm a threat when they have the ball.

Its a tactic that has been tirelessly worked on at Staplewood.

As is often the case in the Premier League, today's fixture brings a similar concern for Saints, Portuguese attacking midfielder, Bruno Fernandes.

Fernandes has scored in every Premier League game that Manchester United have won so far this season.

With that in mind, United's most in-form player will also need to be managed carefully, should Saints want to break a barren run which has not seen them beat the red side of Manchester, at St. Mary's, since 2003!

That day, under the leadership of Gordon Strachan, an 88th-minute winner from James Beattie was enough to secure a 1-0 victory.

Since then, in all competitions, its 4 draws and 11 defeats!

Ahead of the game, Total Saints asked the Austrian how important it was for his team to once again try and nullify the impact of such a critical player (Fernandes) this weekend, particularly if the winless record is to end.

Hasenhüttl answered, “Yes, I mean, you’re right that we always try to attack with more players because there is so much quality around the Premier League and even if you do it you’re not safe, because Traore was, against two or three men, also a threat for us."

"It's never easy to defend such quality in the Premier league, but it is the only way to do it for us as a Club and as a team. So the more quality they have in the team the more difficult it gets because we cannot be everywhere with three or four men at the same time."

"But I think when you are working as a team in front of your own net then it's tough for every opponent to find ways through, but that doesn’t mean we have 90 minutes with no chances for the opponent. This could not happen.

"When they do it then we have to defend the box" the Austrian added, "I think we did it very well against Wolves, very often, very deep defending is also part of the defence work you have to do and, yes, the more quality, they have definitely a lot, the more concentrated and more committed we have to be, but this is the goal for the weekend and we like this game.

"So as I said, it's always fantastic to watch us when we are good organised, when we are working together, when everybody knows exactly what he has to do. This must give us the advantage for, I guess, such teams.”

Hasenhüttl ended by saying, "The only thing that is always the same is the quality from the opponents. They have all individual quality and especially now against this team, yes, this is normally a team that must go for the title here in the Premier League and, for us, I will speak about this, nine out of ten times you don’t have a big chance to win but maybe this is the one game again.”

If Saints can secure that win over Ole Gunnar Solskjær's team then it will see them move up to third in the Premier League, if only for a few hours.

Keeping a very close eye on Fernandes will surely be an important part of any success.

Article by Ben Stanfield


(Photo by Wolverhampton Wanderers FC)

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