Ralph Hasenhuttl insists his players remain upbeat despite being thrashed 9-0 by Manchester United on Tuesday night, the second time in as many seasons they have been on the receiving end of that scoreline.
The defeat at Old Trafford followed a 9-0 loss at home to Leicester in 2019/20 and means they have now lost their last four Premier League matches in a row.
The capitulation against Leicester appeared to galvanise Southampton, however, as they battled their way back to finish 11th in the Premier League and Hasenhuttl says his squad – buoyed by messages of support from the club’s fans – will once again react in a positive fashion.
“The squad feeling is that we’ve made this experience once and what happened afterwards was a reaction that everyone wanted to show,” he said ahead of Saturday’s trip to Newcastle.
“Games like this can happen from time to time. It’s up to us to show what team we are. The good thing is, after every setback, you see new hope.”
Alex Jankewitz was sent off inside 90 seconds of the Old Trafford defeat as he made his first start for the club and the 19-year-old was subjected to racist abuse on social media.
A number of other players, including Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Axel Tuanzebe, Chelsea defender Reece James and West Brom midfielder Romaine Sawyers have also been targeted online in recent weeks.
Hasenhuttl says they will do everything they can to support Jankewitz, while the Saints’ boss also supports the government’s tough stance, after they stated that media companies will face “large fines” which could total “billions of pounds” if they fail tackle abuse on their platforms.
The Football Association and Premier League are among those who have also condemned the abuse as they called on social media firms to take tougher action against hateful messages.
“The club supports him in every way we can,” the Austrian added.
“The government does the same, I think. That is our goal, to make these things not happen in the future and to protect these players.
“None of us are free from mistakes, not the player, not the referee, not the manager. Nobody.
“And blaming somebody is a responsibility and I think also for the social media platforms to stop this because it cannot happen.”
Hasenhuttl backs decision to rescind Bednarek red card
Polish defender Jan Bednarek was also dismissed against Manchester United but will be available for the trip to St James’ Park after his red card was rescinded on Thursday.
“I knew that Jan was not guilty for having made a foul because I seen the scene after the game so it was the only possible decision for me,” said Hasenhuttl.
“Every other decision I wouldn’t understand to be honest.
“I don’t want to speak too much about the decisions that have been taken in this game, I think we have seen a lot of discussion around this game, or around our last two games to be honest.
“I think it’s enough now, it’s enough for how we have been punished for everything we did, we must concentrate a little bit more on what we have tried on the pitch also and concentrate on doing it better in the future.”
Haasenhuttl will also have new signing Takumi Minamino available, after he joined from Liverpool on a six-month loan deal on transfer Deadline Day.
“I see Minamino training today, he’s made a fantastic start already. This gives us all an emotional lift to be honest,” the Saints boss added.
“I had today the first time to speak to him at length. It’s the right choice for us, I’m very happy he’s around the team.
“He’s showed me already he’s got the qualities to help us.”
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