Ralph Hasenhuttl has admitted he is ‘really struggling’ to focus on his job at Southampton amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while the manager has also revealed the war’s impact on defender Lyanco.
Southampton were last in action on Friday night, when they beat Norwich City 2-0 at St Mary’s. There were numerous Ukraine flags in the stands as supporters attempted to show their support for the country.
And that is likely to be the case again when Southampton host West Ham in the FA Cup fifth round on Wednesday evening.
At the pre-match press conference, Hasenhuttl was asked for his thoughts on Russia’s actions and Ukraine’s dire situation. “I think there is nobody around who is not talking about it because it affects us all,” the Austrian said.
“It’s a human catastrophe what happens and every team has players that are affected.”
Hasenhuttl then revealed how centre-back Lyanco had been impacted by the crisis.
“We have with Lyanco, a sister who was in Ukraine but made it now back to Brazil,” the manager said. “But you can see what it does with players and with everybody.
Ralph Hasenhuttl ‘worrying’ about Ukrainian people
“I have been really struggling for one week to concentrate on my job, to concentrate on ridiculous football in the moment.
“The only good thing is that you have two or three hours during the game where you’re not thinking about it.
“The rest of the day is affected by worrying about children, women, people dying in a needless war.”
Saints are in a good place following their eighth league win of the campaign on Friday. They sit in ninth spot and are closing in on the likes of Wolves and Tottenham.
The south coast outfit will be looking to take that form into the FA Cup, which they won in 1975-76.
“As I always say, this is our business: to make people happy,” Hasenhuttl added.
Saints aim to please supporters
“It is our job to do it and we will try to do it again and try our best to make a good evening for everybody.
“It’s really tough in the moment to find the right mindset for what we are doing but I think in the end we all have to function and it’s what we’re doing.”
Looking ahead to the West Ham clash, Hasenhuttl said: “They play a fantastic season.
“They have the target of the Europa League, and also the Champions League is reachable for them this season. That shows how amazing the season has been for West Ham.
“We have twice done a good job against them and we want to do another good game. This is why we are concentrating on preparing for a good cup fight.”