Southampton: Hasenhuttl on how “nobody wanted the ball” vs Everton

Southampton lost their fifth home game of the season with a 2-1 defeat to Everton and the match highlighted just how far they will have to come to salvage their campaign.

Following the game, Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl described exactly what he saw from his side with honesty.

The Austrian looked like he now fully realises the scale of the task that is ahead of him and his players as they bid to avoid relegation when speaking to media post-match.

In his interview with BBC Sport, he said:

“Again, we conceded a very early goal and that killed the mentality of my team. The first-half was horrible; nobody wanted the ball anymore and you could feel the lack of self-confidence. It took us a little bit in half-time to get back to positive body language, and the reaction after half-time was okay.”

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 09: A General view inside of the stadium as players, staff and members of the British Armed Forces participate in a ceremony in honor of Remembrance Day prior to the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Everton FC at Southampton FC Stadium on November 09, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

For every Saints fan watching from the stands at St Mary’s, this was also obvious in a first period that saw their team unable to transition the ball from defence into attack.

Everton had a solid shape, but Saints were limited to trying lofted balls up to forwards Danny Ings and Nathan Redmond, or into the channels behind the visiting defence.

This proved to be far too easy for Everton to deal with and the Saints attack was starved of service in areas where they could actually show their ability.

Oriol Romeu and James Ward-Prowse were particularly guilty of not trying to force space for themselves to receive the ball, whilst Jack Stephens was the only defender who seemed to be looking forward.

Early in the second-half, this did change momentarily.

The introduction of Sofiane Boufal was crucial and Saints began to find the Moroccan and Moussa Djenepo in good positions where they could expose their markers one-on-one.

Boufal set up the Saints equaliser when he wriggled his way to the goalline and drove the ball across the six-yard line, with Danny Ings was on hand to turn home from close-range.

However, this strong spell didn’t seem to last for long enough and Everton would eventually get their winner with 15 minutes remaining.

With the Saints players clearly struggling to play in front of their home fans – whether that be a atmosphere problem or a psychological issue instead – the club need to act fast in order to help Hasenhuttl and his men.

Next: Saints 1-2 Everton: Saints Player Ratings
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