Ralph Hasenhuttl: Who is the new Southampton manager?

Ralph Hasenhuttl
Hasenhuttl has been nicknamed 'Klopp of the Alps'

"If you want guarantees, buy a washing machine. In football there are no guarantees."

New Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl will certainly need to use all his charisma and knowledge to guide the south coast side away from relegation.

In replacing Mark Hughes, he became the first Austrian to manage in the Premier League, but what can Saints fans expect from their new man and how successful will he be?

German football expert Raphael Honigstein profiled Hasenhuttl on the Football Daily podcast.

Southampton ticks a lot of boxes for 'Klopp of the Alps'

A relative unknown in Britain, Southampton have plumped for Hasenhuttl to preserve their top-flight status having had success in Germany.

Hasenhuttl led unfancied Ingolstadt to promotion to the Bundesliga in 2014-15 and RB Leipzig to runners-up place behind champions Bayern Munich two seasons ago.

The 51-year-old's exploits led him to being linked with Bayern and Borussia Dortmund in the last couple of years, while most recently he was tipped to take over at struggling Bayer Leverkusen.

Armed with his high-energy style of play and nicknamed 'Klopp of the Alps', why has he chosen to join lowly Southampton instead?

"When managers are out of a job for six months, they would rather take the job in hand rather than wait for a potential move," says Honigstein.

"That is what happened with Thomas Tuchel. Bayern told him to wait, 'We will call you, we just need to talk to Jupp Heynckes, you are our man'. Come March, April, Tuchel was thinking, 'Where is this phone call, am I ever going to get it?' PSG come with a very firm offer, telling them which players they will buy and he took the job on the table.

"Hasenhuttl was in a similar position, he was the guy everyone was talking about to get the Leverkusen job because Heiko Herrlich is on very shaky ground but he is still in the job and may still be there at the start of the year.

"It is difficult for a coach not to jump when the opportunity presents itself. Southampton tick a lot of boxes for him.

"He is in the mould of Mauricio Pochettino, coming in to the job with not much reputation, a guy that had done good stuff but not really registered with wider football world and Hasenhuttl has maybe achieved more than what Pochettino had done but is very much an unknown quantity."

'Smart move' for manager and club

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I've learned a lot from Cardiff defeat - Hasenhuttl

Southampton have won just once all season and lie 19th in the Premier League, three points from safety.

Hasenhuttl's first game in charge ended in a 1-0 defeat against fellow relegation candidates Cardiff.

"Southampton is sideways move but a smart one because he would have looked at the structure, the way the club is run and the underlining squad and feels they can get out of danger," said Honigstein.

"Then he is in a position to really build something over the next two or three years, get more time than you would in the Bundesliga where they are quick to hire and fire. It is a smart move by the club, too. He will save them and improve them in no time.

"Hasenhuttl will say, 'We have decent players, let me try and improve them, let me find a system that makes us difficult to beat. We have enough quality to get out of this and then we can start thinking of rebuilding the squad and adding quality'.

"If you are around the club and a manager says, 'I can work with what I have, I don't need £50m worth of investment', you are always more likely to listen to him.

"That explains why him and his ilk are around - Daniel Farke at Norwich, David Wagner at Huddersfield, Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool."

'His football with energise the crowd and team'

Ralph Hasenhuttl amd Naby Keita
Hasenhuttl was manager of now Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita at RB Leipzig

So, what sort of person is Hasenhuttl and what is his style of play?

Honigstein says: "'If you want guarantees, you should buy a washing machine.' It is not a novel line in Germany but a good one. He likes to play the piano, enjoys Chopin and mountain biking.

"He is very affable and connects with people. There is an underlying quality to his coaching and football.

"Now, starting in the relegation zone halfway through a season is not the easiest as you begin a new career in a different league.

"4-2-2-2 is his preferred formation. Brazil played with it and called it the magic square, but that was with the likes of Ronaldinho in the team.

"What it means is that the the wide players are not really wide but it is still a 4-4-2. His teams are very good when they can concentrate on committing other teams into making mistakes.

"He is on the record as saying, 'Football is a game of mistakes, whoever makes fewer mistakes can win'. That sounds very dour and drab but if it translates into high energy and keeps the ball far away from your own goal then it is a sort of thing in a relegation fight that can energise the crowd and team and give you a strong identity.

"They may not be bursting with finesse and quality on the ball, but it can give you enough of a platform to get out of your troubles and then concentrate on making the next steps."

Ralph Hasenhuttl translates in German as Ralph Rabbithutch, and Honigstein tells a funny tale about the name.

"When he has his first great season with RB Leipzig and they were pushing Bayern Munich all the way, they looked in a title race and the question came up on German 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?'

"They made three names up like Joseph Cowbarn, Sep Doghut, Lars Duckshed but the punchline was that the contestant did not recognise Ralph Rabbithutch was the name of a real manager, chose the wrong one and got knocked out.

"His standing has grown, though, and has become a more household name and is now coaching in the Premier League."