Ralph Hasenhuttl calls for investment in Southampton to avoid rowdy campaigns
Ralph Hasenhuttl finally has some positive news on the injury front but has warned Southampton will continue to go through seasons of highs and lows unless the squad are significantly strengthened this summer.
The Saints first came out on top in the Premier League era in November, but what promised to be a memorable top-flight campaign is now coming undone at a breakneck pace.
Southampton have just one point to show in their last nine games, which means they’ve gone from flirting with European qualifying to looking nervously over their shoulders in the drop zone.
Injuries had a big impact during this dramatic fall and Hasenhuttl could welcome some key players again for Saturday’s crucial trip to Sheffield United, the rocky bottom.
“The injury news so far is that we have a few players back in training,” said the Saints boss.
“Ibra (Ibrahima Diallo), Taki (Takumi Minamino) and Kyle (Walker-Peters) are coming back and are in the sessions. If they’re available for the game we’ll take a look at them, but it looks good.
Moussa Djenepo, who took a hit in Monday’s 1-0 defeat to Everton, has to be handled during a hectic schedule, while Hasenhuttl doesn’t expect loan striker Theo Walcott to return until April .
Oriol Romeu, Will Smallbone and Michael Obafemi remain with long-term issues – absentees who exposed a slim squad and left Hasenhuttl calling for summer signings.
“It’s a fact that we had a very small team this season,” said the Austrian. “We trusted all the young players to intervene.
“Maybe we expected a little more from one or the other, but it’s not that easy.
“I think it’s easy to be part of a team when there is a young player for a team that flies high. When the team is in trouble you can’t expect the young players to lift us up so that’s the problem we had.
“The squad was definitely not big enough for the number of games we had and the tough games and the compressed season. This is what we now see very clearly.
“But, you know, when you want to have a great team, you have to have opportunities to bring in the players and that’s what we always struggle with because good players cost a lot of money.
“I’ve talked a lot about this topic, so we have to find a way in the future to stretch the side a bit. Absolutely.
“We need a lot of new players in the summer, they have quality and help us, because otherwise it will always be the situation as we have been this season that we have a mandate where everything works well.
“We’re in the flow, we get some points, we jump to the table and then there’s a situation where you get some injuries and then you struggle to win games.
“So that’s what you’ve been able to see in the last couple of years since I’ve been here that we always have times when it works well and we get a lot of points and then times when we have a hard time because of injuries or other problems we have and then it just doesn’t look.