Ralph Hasenhuttl on Southampton’s transfer plans, new rules and playing piano
By Liam Grace
Last Updated: 23/01/19 9:47pm
Ralph Hasenhuttl has overseen 10 games thus far as Southampton manager. Of those 10 games, the Saints have won four, lost four and drawn two.
It is steady progress for a team 18th in the Premier League with three wins in 22 top-flight games when Mark Hughes was dismissed in December and the Saints - under Hasenhuttl's leadership - now find themselves beginning to look up the table rather than down it.
With the south coast club left in such a dismal position when he took over, and with the transfer window around the corner, one may have expected the Austrian to significantly bolster his squad in January. However, as he explains, he simply has not needed to.
"The team have shown that they have more potential in them than people thought," he told Sky Sports. "We didn't have to immediately bring new players in.
"We tried to create potential and quality, and I think we did that. That doesn't mean we are not looking, because we are looking, but we'll only do a transfer if it helps us immediately and also for the future.
"It's a package. If you find a young player who has potential and quality then we'll think about a transfer. The more important thing in this transfer period is to give players away, to have a committed group that is not too big.
"If it is too big, I cannot give every player the feeling that he is important for me. That is what I want to do.
"If a new player comes in now, it will take time to get used to our philosophy, so I think the most successful way to work is in the summer [transfer window] where we have a full pre-season and can work six weeks with new players."
Quality only goes so far in Hasenhuttl's recruitment. They must have the right mindset, the right attitude, and operate under a brand new set of rules he has introduced to his players.
Those rules include keeping the dressing room tidy - something that Hasenhuttl himself checks every day - and if rules are broken, they must complete a fine, which can include creating training sessions for youth players.
"If you want to be a part of a team I manage, it is important to put your ego to one side," he added. "To work for the team and for the success of the team. That is more important than one ego.
"It was important that we put a few rules together, if you stay here in this building and spend the whole time here, it is important to have good discipline on and off the pitch.
If you want to be a part of a team I manage, it is important to put your ego to one side.
"The players enjoy that - they are the guys who give fines to other players, they know the manager is looking, and the manager tries to fulfil these rules for life.
"We show a player every good thing he does for the team, but if he makes a bad thing for the team, he will also hear about that, in front of the other players.
"It doesn't matter who the player is, if it's the captain or someone else, it's not about how big he is for the team, every one player has to learn.
"The dressing room has to be clean. I put a picture on the wall. I take a picture because I am the mainly the last guy leaving this building in the evening so if I go through the dressing room and find some boots in the way - yeah.
"The good thing these days is that every boot has a number!
The dressing room has to be clean. I put a picture on the wall. I take a picture because I am the mainly the last guy leaving this building in the evening.
"We have different fines. It's not about paying money, it's about working in the office or making a training session for the youth players. Something like that which costs time."
Outside of football, Hasenhuttl is a keen piano player. Ahead of his first game in charge, an away trip to Cardiff, he admits that he showcased his musical talents to his squad in a hotel - a tradition down at St Mary's.
"I play the piano," he said with a smile. "The players know it, because there is a tradition here. If you come to the team you have to sing a song.
"I did it once when staying in a hotel. I played the piano - yes! It was a German song as I couldn't play an English song. Next time, maybe they'll hear an English song."
When asked if his players enjoyed the rendition, Hasenhuttl laughed and added: "Yeah... I don't know!"