It might only be day one for Ralph Hasenhüttl at Southampton, but the club’s new manager has already made it crystal clear what sort of an approach he intends to bring.
“It's a very proactive way to play,” said Hasenhüttl, as he began explaining his philosophy. “Anyone who knows my teams before can see there are a lot of intensive runs and everyone knowing what to do.
“It depends on heart and a lot of running, and also on mind work and flexibility, and also being very quick in your decisions, and that's what we try to improve in the training sessions we have.”
pressing will take a big part of our work in the next weeks.ralph hasenhüttl
Austrian-born Hasenhüttl has built a reputation in Germany for a high-energy pressing game, designed to turn the screws on opponents and pounce on their mistakes, gaining notable attention for this in his last job, at RB Leipzig.
So, is that the kind of play he envisages developing at Saints?
"Absolutely, that's the kind of football I want to see,” he said. “Pressing will take a big part of our work in the next weeks, but it's not only about counter-pressing, it's about more.
“We have a lot of phases in our game and we try to focus on every one. When we have the ball, when we play against the ball, when we lose it, when we win it and therefore we should focus on every part of the game.
“The main goal is not to overload them in the beginning, because we are two days away from the next match, so we only have this afternoon with the recovering players and a few that didn't play yesterday, and tomorrow we train one time with the whole squad, so it's not possible to overload them, so we need a few main details that are very necessary for Saturday, then afterwards we go on.
“It will be a long journey we have, it will be an intensive one, but also a very emotional one, and one we can enjoy.”
Hasenhüttl is certainly making it clear to his squad that plenty of hard work lies ahead of them – but that those who buy into it will ultimately reap their rewards.
"They will get from me a respectful conversation and behaviour,” he said of what his players can expect.
“I try to create here an atmosphere where everyone is prepared to work hard. It's an intensive way. They have to go with me and I think I force a lot from them, but when they do that they are welcome and they can follow us, and the guys who don't will feel very quickly that they fall behind and it will be difficult.
“We try to give everyone the chance to come with us and go on this journey and I think if they want to they will develop themselves. When the team develops, each player will do so and will help themselves to a higher level.”
Hasenhüttl’s approach, which has also been built around promoting and developing young players, is one that he feels aligns perfectly with his new club.
"I think the philosophy they want to live here compares very much to mine,” he said.
“It's about playing with young guys, and also a very intensive way to play. I think that's what the people want to see.”