Southampton will seek to win two games on the bounce ahead of a busy festive period. A win could see the Saints climb up to the Champions League spaces if other results go their way. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side will look to put on a show and grab all three points in front of 2000 returning fans.
The south coast side have only lost once in their last nine games and will look to continue their fine run of form with a win tomorrow.
Sheffield United are in desperate need of points having only gained one point out of a possible 33. The blades need to pick up some form or they will risk being cut adrift from the other teams in the relegation scrap.
On the Sheffield United challenge
Hasenhuttl makes it clear that Sheffield United cannot be taken lightly as the table hasn’t reflected the Blades’ performances this year. Chris Wilder felt that their performance last week against Leicester City justified something from the game. The ball isn’t quite dropping for Wilder’s side this season.
“The position in the table is not really a signal for how strong the opponent is. We went to Chelsea last season, 17th in the table and won there.”
“I told my players that they did a fantastic job there (at Brighton), it’s exactly the same job we have to do this weekend. Sheffield United is a team that is fighting for everything. You will see how focused, how concentrated we are.”
Southampton will welcome back 2000 fans for the first time in five months.
“We are happy they are coming back, we had a few difficult games at home, but in the last four or five months we have been winning our games at home”
Hasenhuttl stated that playing in front of Brighton fans last week felt strange.
“It was a completely different sport, if you want. Everyone could feel there was more pressure, more stress. It is strange how much noise 2000 supporters can make.”
Vestergaard’s turnaround this season
Jannick Vestergaard has turned his Southampton career right round this year with continuous fine performances at the back. The Dane’s strengths complement the system Hasenhuttl opts to play to a tee and is reaping the rewards. Vestergaard has become an invaluable asset to the side.
“The way he plays at the moment is really fantastic. After the lockdown, in the new season, he showed that he is really calm with the ball, he has good decision making and good game management”
Looking towards the busy festive period
Southampton will play five games between now and the end of the year. Hosting Sheffield United, Manchester City, and West Ham as well as travelling to London to visit Arsenal and Fulham. Games are coming thick and fast, asking a lot of questions towards the players’ fitness.
“We are not scared of this, three games a week is not a problem for our players. We did not rotate so much last Christmas, the players are so fit. We see that we are always fitter than the opponents.”
On the achievements of the season so far
The Saints experienced the peak of the Premier League table this season for the first-ever time in the club’s history. They currently sit sixth, however, Hasenhuttl’s side could potentially rise up to the Champions League spots with a win on Sunday if other results go their way.
“I hoped we would have a better start than last season. We expect to have a better season, not being part of a relegation battle.”
Hasenhuttl believes that their talisman, Danny Ings, can be a significant factor in a successful season this campaign.
“He scores the most goals, he’s always in front of the goal. His finishing is fantastic, he is clinical when he has a chance.”