Interviews

Hasenhuttl deserves St Mary's success, says Gross

Albion midfielder played for Saints' boss in Germany.

By Charlie Hanson • 05 December 2020

By Paul Hazlewood
Ralph Hasenhuttl took over at St Mary's in 2018.

Pascal Gross isn't surprised by the success Ralph Hasenhuttl is enjoying at Southampton.

Having worked under the Austrian at German club Ingolstadt for three seasons, the 29-year-old is fully aware of his former manager's qualities.

“When he came to Ingolstadt we were in the Championship and we didn't have a lot of points. We trained every day in the style of football he wanted us to play; really aggressive, trying to press, trying to force mistakes.

“No matter what the team was, from the first week we played nearly the same style every game. We tried to put pressure on the other team and then get quick balls into the strikers, when the defence is unorganised, to get some chances.

“We pressed so we could win the ball high up, 20, 30, 40 metres in front of the opponents' goal. Then you only need one pass to get a chance. That was the way we played and it was really successful. We stayed up, then the next year we got promoted and then we stayed up again. He did really well with us.”

It hasn't always been plain sailing at St Mary's for Hasenhuttl, who was on the verge of leaving after a 9-0 home defeat to Leicester City in October 2019.

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Since then the Saints have enjoyed 18 victories in 38 Premier League matches and they sit in sixth ahead of the weekend's fixtures.

“I can only speak about the time I was with him, which was some years ago,” Gross added. “He is a really good human being. You could talk to him quite openly about everything on and off the pitch. It was a good atmosphere and we had success. He was really good for the team and for us.”

The Southampton boss' playing style has drawn comparisons with Graham Potter's approach, but not by Gross.

"I don't like comparing managers to each other because every manager is a little bit different, every player is a little bit different. They are both good managers and they are both good human beings. They are very open, they help you if you have issues.

"On the pitch, Graham Potter makes sure we always have a good game plan, but we can change it, we can adapt, we use different styles.

"At Ingolstadt, Hassenhutl was a young manager, he has improved as well. We had more one style, but it worked so we just played our game. It didn't matter what our opponent was doing, what shape they were playing, we just stuck to what we wanted to do and didn't care a lot about opponents.

"Here we always try to find solutions, going into the detail which is also really good. We are always well prepared."

By Paul Hazlewood
Pascal Gross showed nerves of steel as he fired in from the penalty spot late on against Liverpool.

 

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