Ralph Hasenhuttl says Southampton rise is 'scary but not surprising'

Southampton beat Newcastle 2-0 to go top of the Premier League; Saints have won five of their last six games; Ralph Hasenhuttl: "It is a little scary what we are doing at the moment to be honest but not surprising when I see what we are working on"

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Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl says that his side were almost perfect after they beat Newcastle 2-0 to temporarily go top of the Premier League.

Ralph Hasenhuttl heaped praise on his players after Southampton moved top of the Premier League, but admits his side's rise has not come as a surprise to him.

Saints moved top of the Premier League for the first time in their history after beating Newcastle 2-0 at St Mary's on Friday night. A seventh-minute strike from Che Adams gave the home side an early lead and they wrapped up victory in the 82nd minute through Stuart Armstrong.

A year ago, Southampton sat in the bottom three of the Premier League, but the Austrian believes his side are now showing their development and the fruits of their investment both away from the pitch and on the training ground, away from the pressure of playing in front of supporters.

Ralph Hasenhuttl shakes hands with Adams at the final whistle
Image: Ralph Hasenhuttl shakes hands with Adams at the final whistle

"It's amazing what my team does in the moment," he told Sky Sports. "Congratulations to everybody around the pitch and the team. Amazing. We could maybe have scored more but the rest was perfect. Everybody was on the highest level. It is a little scary what we are doing at the moment to be honest but not surprising when I see what we are working on.

"We could have closed the game, earlier - that was definitely possible. The way we played through lines was fantastic to watch. We can then make the last pass and final decision even better but this is criticism on a high level. We know it's not so easy to create a lot of chances against these teams.

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"We're a strong side and this is not a coincidence as we've developed every part of our game. Our game management has been very brave and I feel it has helped us in some situations where there's no crowd in the stadium so we can develop our game. There's not so much stress now, and we've got used to it. As a result, we've now got a more complete game."

How long since your club topped the top division?

Team Last top
Southampton 06/11/2020
Liverpool 05/11/2020
Everton 30/10/2020
Leicester City 02/10/2020
Arsenal 18/09/2020
Man City 16/08/2019
Chelsea 21/09/2018
Man Utd 10/08/2018
Tottenham 29/08/2014
Fulham 21/08/2012
Aston Villa 20/08/2011
Newcastle 13/08/2007
West Ham 22/08/2006
Leeds Utd 26/08/2002
Crystal Palace 05/10/1979
West Brom 02/02/1979
Burnley 31/08/1973
Sheffield Utd 08/10/1971
Wolves 05/10/1962

Hasenhuttl's men dominated possession and chances as they sealed a comfortable win that saw them replace Liverpool at the top of the table ahead of this weekend's fixtures.

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The Saints last stood at the summit of English football 32 years ago under the management of Chris Nicholl and it marks a remarkable 12 months for the Austrian manager since their 9-0 thrashing by Leicester last October.

Stuart Armstrong sealed the win to put Southampton top of the league
Image: Stuart Armstrong sealed the win to put Southampton top of the league

Hasenhuttl added: "I'm happy for the fans that we're top of the league at the moment, but the season is very long. We have a very intense period over Christmas but the squad is nicely balanced. We've restructured a few things and this now shows that the players are stepping up.

"It's the first time that we've had three wins in a row and this was the goal for today. It's the first time that we've taken three points over Newcastle as the last three times we'd lost. We're top for now, but it's only for a few moments. Of course, it's nice for the fans and the players. For me, it's important that we stay hungry and don't lean back."

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Southampton's win over Newcastle

Inconsistency frustrates Bruce

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce was very disappointed his side couldn't follow up their win against Everton with a good performance and admits his side's biggest problem is consistency after their 2-0 defeat to Southampton in the Premier League.

Newcastle, who had yet to be beaten away from home in the Premier League this season and headed into the game on the south coast in good form, having beaten Everton 2-1 in their previous fixture, but often lacked control and managed just four shots during the game.

"Certainly, the best team won," Newcastle boss Steve Bruce told Sky Sports. "We didn't get anywhere near where we were five days ago. We didn't look after the ball well enough and we gifted them two goals. We didn't do enough to win the game. We didn't handle the full press and it was a difficult night.

"The one thing you can't do at this level is give them the goals we did. We gave the ball away far too often. We knew what to expect from them - the full press - and unfortunately we couldn't play through it.

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Jamie Redknapp and Alan Pardew felt that Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles was lucky to avoid conceding a penalty after a reckless tackle on Southampton's Theo Walcott.

"The first 15 minutes was probably our worst spell after half-time. We couldn't get out. We kept giving the ball back to them and when you're in that situation it becomes difficult for. Congratulations to Southampton on the night. They were far better than us and we couldn't cope with them.

"We go up and down too quick. That's one thing we have to resolve. We go along nicely then all of a sudden we don't play well enough in the game. It nags me."

What's next?

Southampton travel to face Wolves on Saturday November 21 after the international break; kick-off 3pm.

Newcastle will host Chelsea at St James' Park at 12.30pm on the same day.

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