Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl expects an ‘aggressive’ game against Leeds United, as his team looks to leapfrog the West Yorkshire side on Saturday.
Both Southampton and Leeds have started the season poorly, as they sit 17th and 16th respectively in the Premier League. Of course, both sides will want to steer themselves clear of the bottom of the table. As such, a win on Saturday would be crucial for the teams.
Leeds came out the victors on both occasions the sides faced each other last season, with 3-0 and 2-0 victories. Hasenhuttl will hope his side fair better this season.
The Saints boss feels the game on Saturday will be tough, and chances will be few and far between.
“This game will not always be nice to watch, because of the pressure we will both put on each other – so don’t expect a five-star dinner, you won’t see that,” he said via Leeds Live.
“It will be maybe one of the most intense games all season. The passes that the opposition manage to complete against them [Leeds] is the lowest in the whole league. When we speak about pressing in our game, they are even more aggressive and they do it all 90 minutes.”
The Austrian is rightly concerned about Leeds’ play style, with the Whites having kept more than 50% possession in all but one of their league games this season.
As such, they dominated Watford in their first win of the season last time out, with 66% possession. Also, they registered 434 passes to Watford’s 183.
Hasenhuttl knows the key to beating Leeds is to match up with what they do well.
“It will be about winning duels, winning second balls, using the space, there will be a lot of bad passes – and I’m sure this is how they play,” he said.
“We have to find the right answer. We need to be prepared for all they offer us. It will be an intense fight.”
Southampton concern for Hasenhuttl
Though Hasenhuttl is focussed on the Leeds game, it seems there is an air of doubt about his sides performances so far this season.
“I am more concentrated on what is missing in our game than talking about pressure. It doesn’t help anyone. We are using our energy to find solutions to our issues on the pitch. That is my job and it is what I get paid for,” he said.
“You can be sure that there are not many minutes during the day where I am not thinking about it.”
The Saints boss will be hoping his side can fix their issues in order to pull themselves safely away from the drop zone.