Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl 'not afraid' of Arsenal
By Adam Goodwin
Last Updated: 23/02/19 12:31pm
Ralph Hasenhuttl insists he's "not afraid" of the Premier League's top six ahead of Southampton's visit to Arsenal on Sunday.
The Austrian's first home game in charge of Southampton was a 3-2 win against the Gunners and he'll be hoping for a similar result to take the Saints further away from the relegation zone.
"We are focusing on the game against a difficult opponent, a very good opponent that we beat once already this year in a big game with a fantastic performance," he said at his pre-match press conference.
"I'm not afraid about all the big teams because we showed against Chelsea and Arsenal that we can also play against these teams in good matches and we will need to, that's for sure.
"Every game is difficult but I think in the first game we showed that we can bring this surprising result."
The former RB Leipzig head coach temporarily lifted Southampton out of the drop zone, but after some poor results against Crystal Palace, Burnley and Cardiff, they've been plunged back into danger.
And Hassenhuttl knows it will take an improved performance in north London if they are to improve this bad run of form.
"To take something in the Emirates Stadium is far away from being easy but we don't think about that," said Hassenhuttl.
"We know that we can be an opponent in an away game that's not easy to beat, and that's the only thing that interests us.
"That we can be a strong opponent, that we can take another clean sheet in London, like we did against Chelsea."
Southampton's Michael Obafemi is available for Southampton after recovering from a hamstring injury that has kept him out since late December, and he will be looking to fill the void left by Danny Ings, who is also out with a hamstring problem.
The Republic of Ireland striker signed a new three-and-a-half year contract on Wednesday but his manager is looking to avoid a burden being placed on the youngster.
"I don't want to put this pressure on him because it doesn't help him," Hasenhuttl said.
"The main part for the younger players is that they don't feel pressure, they are open-minded and they are very positive.
"I don't expect too much from them but what I expect is they work hard and if they get the chance to play they are brave and try to do their best on the pitch."