Southampton have announced manager Ralph Hassenhuttl has put pen-to-paper on a new four-year contract at St Mary’s.
The Austrian joined the Premier League club in December 2018, succeeding Mark Hughes, when Saints were rooted to the bottom of the table.
Hassenhuttl led Southampton to safety in April and they eventually finished the campaign in 16th, which cemented his place as the man the board wanted to take the club forward.
The former RB Leipzig coach looked to be under severe pressure earlier this season though, with Saints struggling again towards the bottom end of the table.
Many feared for his future following the 0-9 home defeat to Leicester in October 2019 – a performance he described as “disaster” as he apologised to the Saints fans for a match that was “horrible to watch”.
The south-coast outfit followed up that loss with back-to-back defeats to Man City and Everton and there was growing talk that the Austrian could be facing the axe.
But just two defeats in their next 10 matches, including a revenge victory over Leicester at the King Power Stadium, eased the pressure and moved Saints away from the relegation zone. So much so, that you can now get
40/1 on Southampton being relegated this season.
Hassenhuttl Happy to Sign New Deal
Hassenhuttl is certainly happy with his surroundings and how things are progressing and was more than happy sign up to the new deal.
The Saints boss told the club’s website: “This, for me, was a simple decision. Simple because of the relationship that I have built with the club, the players and the fans, and also because of the relationship they have built with me too.
“For me, this is an important step in the journey. My players, our staff, and of course the supporters must understand my commitment to this club and to what we are trying to build together.”
Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier told Sky Sports that Hassenhuttl has been working on a plan during lockdown for how all teams at the club, from the Under 9s up to the senior team, should play and how things should be structured.
That sort of attention to detail has certainly impressed senior figures on the south coast and they were keen to see him stay put to implement his ideas.
Speaking about the new contract, Chief Executive Officer Martin Semmens said: “From day one, Ralph has had a positive impact on the club, everyone within it and our fans.
“He joined our club at a time when strong leadership was needed to drive the club forward. This he delivered, but it was the clarity of vision that has ultimately led us to this point.”
Southampton currently sit 14th in the Premier League table, some seven points outside the relegation zone and five points from the top half, with nine games remaining.
Hassenhuttl’s men can be backed at
13/2 to finish in the top 10, when the action resumes later this month, while striker Danny Ings – who has 15 goals to his name – is
18/1 to finish the campaign as the Premier League’s top goalscorer.