Hasenhüttl hoping Southampton bring their A-game to semi-final test
Saints have impressed in the FA Cup and are yet to concede a goal in the competition
Ralph Hasenhuttl: “The face we have shown in the FA Cup so far is a very good one. A cup final definitely can turn things 100 per cent.” Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA
Ralph Hasenhüttl has been showing Southampton’s players motivational videos to inspire them to bring their A-game to Wembley for tomorrow’s FA Cup semi-final against Leicester.
Southampton have not conceded a goal in the competition this season and have eliminated the holders, Arsenal, but an alarming dip in Premier League form has dropped them to 14th.
Southampton lost 3-0 to West Brom last Monday and Hasenhüttl insists his players must take advantage of the cup having “its own rules”.
He said: “I hope we see the ‘cup team’. This is a team that hasn’t conceded one goal in the competition so far. This is the basics, the fundamental of being successful and having a chance to go to the next round.
“We, very early, started speaking about how important the cup is for us. For smaller clubs like we are it is always good to have this target in your mind. When we are hungry and we know what we have to hunt for, then we are strong. This is what we expect on the weekend. The face we have shown in the FA Cup so far is a very good one. A cup final definitely can turn things 100 per cent, around 360 degrees and then it would be a super-successful season, definitely.”
Hasenhüttl hopes showing players footage of some of their finest moments this season will smooth a path to a first cup final victory since 1976, when Bobby Stokes scored the only goal in a famous win over Manchester United.
“I think we did it before the Portsmouth game [which -Southampton won 4-0 in 2019],” he said. “This year we have done looking at our games and what we have done right over the last weeks and months. It is always helpful for a player to see some good moves from him, some good goals, some good tackles to get motivated.”
Southampton reached the Carabao Cup final four years ago, when Zlatan Ibrahimovic helped Manchester United to victory, and last reached the FA Cup final in 2003. Hasenhüttl is aiming to overturn a wretched personal record in cups, dating back to his time in Germany.
“My stats are horrible,” the Austrian said. “Maybe this is the year when everything comes together because I lost so often in penalty shootouts, or there were horrible games where we were 2-0 up and lost it. My cup record is completely opposite to what I have done in the leagues.”
Southampton have been lauded for their all-action performances at times this season but Hasenhüttl acknowledged victory is all that matters at Wembley.
“In this game, there is nothing about beautiful play or beautiful football players,” he said. “It is more about taking the win. It is about doing everything to have one goal more than the opponent. For this, you cannot look to have some beautiful moves or something like that.
“We need to be successful. To be successful you have to be very committed, work very hard against the ball to not concede a goal.”