Southampton sack Ralph Hasenhuttl after nearly four years in charge

Ralph Hasenhuttl

Southampton have sacked their manager Ralph Hasenhuttl in the wake of Sunday’s 4-1 home defeat by Newcastle.

Hasenhuttl, who was appointed in December 2018, departs with the club in the Premier League relegation zone with 12 points after 14 games.

Southampton last won at Bournemouth on 19 October in what is their only win from the past nine matches.

“We now believe it is an appropriate time to make a change,” said a statement from the south coast club.

First team coach Ruben Selles will take charge for Wednesday’s Carabao Cup third round home game against League One side Sheffield Wednesday.

Scoring goals has been a particular problem for Hasenhuttl’s side and the 55-year-old Austrian bemoaned his players wasting opportunities against Newcastle.

Afterwards he said he was not concerned about the risk of losing his job, but the Saints board have decided to act before the midweek EFL Cup game and Saturday’s trip to Liverpool. It is their final game before the Premier League breaks for the World Cup, which runs from 20 November to 18 December.

Southampton added that Hasenhuttl had departed “having made a significant contribution to the club, overseeing some memorable results and also playing a key role in the development of our club infrastructure, identity and playing squad”.

The Saints “will be announcing a permanent replacement in due course” and one of the early frontrunners for the post is Luton Town boss Nathan Jones.external-link

Hasenhuttl has become the fifth Premier League manager to be sacked so far this season.

Scott Parker, Bruno Lage, Thomas Tuchel and Steven Gerrard were dismissed by Bournemouth , Wolverhampton Wanderers, Chelsea and Aston Villa respectively, while Graham Potter left Brighton to take over as Chelsea boss.

Hasenhuttl highs and lows

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Former RB Leipzig manager Hasenhuttl succeeded Mark Hughes as Saints boss with the club 18th in the Premier League and guided them to safety at the end of that season.

His first full season in charge saw them finish 11th in a campaign disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, before a 15th-placed finish in 2020-21.

During that season, Southampton were top of the Premier League for the first time ever when they led on goal difference after eight games.

In January 2021, Hasenhuttl cut an emotional figure as he enjoyed a victory against defending champions Liverpool.

However, in February that year, Southampton were beaten 9-0 by Manchester United. It was the second defeat by that margin during his time at the club, having lost to Leicester by the same scoreline in October 2019.

After a stuttering start last season a winter revival saw them rise to as high as ninth in February, but they lost nine and won just one of their final 12 matches to slump to 15th.

The club responded by reshuffling Hasenhuttl’s coaching team over the summer, with Kelvin Davis, Dave Watson and Craig Fleming all leaving St Mary’s.

They also brought in numerous players, including goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu, striker Sekou Mara, midfielder Joe Aribo and defenders Armel Bella-Kotchap and Duje Caleta-Car.

But that has failed to spark an upturn in form.

Southampton have only scored 12 goals in their 14 Premier League games this season and were wasteful again against third-placed Newcastle in what proved to be the manager’s final match.

“Newcastle have shown why they are where they are,” he said in his BBC Sport interview after the game.

“They were clinical in the right moments. They have shown us how to win games. I cannot say we played a bad game but not playing a bad game is not enough to win games. That’s why we are where we are.”

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