Southampton boss Hasenhuttl plays down retirement rumours

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl insists he is focused on upcoming games rather than any talk of a possible retirement in 2024.

The 54-year-old Austrian told German magazine Kicker on Monday that he will consider retiring from football once his Southampton contract expires in 2024.

Saints boss Hasenhuttl joined in December 2018 and is the club’s longest-serving manager of the Premier League era.

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Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Tottenham about his future, he said: “We speak about two and a half years, so it’s quite a long time.

“If you hired me today as a manager and I made two and a half years in the job then I would be very happy.

“It is for me not understandable why we speak about that topic. We should be more concentrated about the current situation, about the upcoming games.

“This is nothing new. I spoke about that in the past, it doesn’t mean I know what happens in two and a half years.

“The only thing is my contract is then over and it is possible I then stop. I don’t know.”

Southampton, 2-1 FA Cup fourth-round winners against Coventry on Saturday, return to Premier League action in north London after an 18-day break.

Saints held leaders Manchester City 1-1 on their last top-flight outing, and now face away games at Tottenham and Manchester United in the space of just 65 hours.

Will Southampton soon need to prepare for life without Ralph Hasenhuttl?

The #SaintsFC manager has suggested he may retire from coaching once his current contract expires in 2024.

— The Athletic UK (@TheAthleticUK) February 7, 2022

Asked about the quick turnaround between Wednesday evening and Saturday lunchtime kick-offs, Hasenhuttl said: “We knew about these three games coming up after we lost against Wolves, but we are not looking like this anymore.

“We are looking like having a chance in every game. We have shown this and we are comfortable in the way we are playing.

“We know how good we have to be to be able to take something from these games.

“The managing of the risk gives them the reward and this is what we need to be clear about.

“You can look in the mirror and say: ‘You have to play well’, but it’s more important to be a good, organised opponent.

“Make scoring for them as difficult in the first game against them and wait for your chances, because they will definitely come.”

Southampton held Tottenham 1-1 at St Mary’s just six weeks ago, despite playing with 10 men for over 50 minutes after Mohammed Salisu was sent off.

The 12th-placed Saints have lost only once in eight games in all competitions, and Hasenhuttl believes his side have developed a resilient streak this season.

He said: “There were reasons we have lost these games in the past because we haven’t been concentrating for the last 20-30 minutes.

“We gave it away too easily. It seems that this season this has changed.

“Our defending quality is a little better. We still concede goals, but we need to be on target for a clean sheet.”

Top scorer Armando Broja faces a fitness test on a knee injury after hobbling off against Coventry.

Brazilian defender Lyanco could be out for up to three months with a hamstring strain.

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