Sport Soccer

Saturday 19 October 2019

Hasenhuttl sorry for Hughton snub as Southampton see off Brighton

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg scored Saints’ second-half winner.

Ralph Hasenhuttl, pictured, apologised to Chris Hughton (Gareth Fuller/PA)
Ralph Hasenhuttl, pictured, apologised to Chris Hughton (Gareth Fuller/PA)

By Ed Elliot, Press Association Sport

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl apologised for snubbing Brighton boss Chris Hughton in the euphoric aftermath of a vital 1-0 victory at the Amex Stadium.

Hasenhuttl initially failed to shake Hughton’s hand as he jubilantly celebrated a big three points in the battle for Premier League survival.

The failure to observe etiquette appeared to upset Hughton and Hasenhuttl moved quickly to make amends in his post-match press conference.

“It was such a big feeling (after the win) that I forgot to shake the other manager’s hand and that’s why I have to apologise,” said Hasenhuttl.

“I always forget everything when the final whistle comes – so please, sorry.

“I was five seconds too late but then I came and shook the hand.

“For us in our situation it’s very important to take these wins, and against this type of opponent three points are very important.”

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s second-half strike earned Saints a deserved win which leaves the two south coast clubs level on 33 points and five clear of 18th-placed Cardiff.

Hasenhuttl, whose side last played three weeks ago due to FA Cup fixtures and an international break, also showed exuberance on the pitch in front of the sold-out away end at the final whistle.

“Today was massive because the whole side behind the goal was full of our fans,” he added.

“It’s an amazing moment if you go there and celebrate with them. Now they can go back and have a nice weekend.”

With fellow strugglers Burnley also winning and Cardiff hosting Chelsea on Sunday, the Austrian feels the success does not greatly improve Southampton’s overall chances of avoiding the drop.

Asked how far his side are now away from safety, he replied: “Not really much more than before the game. You see the other teams are also winning.

“After three weeks’ break it’s important to have such a huge step back in the league.

“We showed a good performance, the guys were very concentrated – new shape, new organisation.”

Hughton, who accepted Hasenhuttl’s apology, felt his team started slowly and failed to impose themselves on the game until going behind.

Albion full-back Martin Montoya rattled the crossbar from range 18 minutes from time after Hojbjerg broke the deadlock eight minutes into the second period.

“Credit to him. It’s an emotional game. I don’t know him but he seems a very good coach and a very good fella as well,” Hughton said of Hasenhuttl.

“If that’s the case (an apology) then I appreciate that.”

Speaking about his team’s below-par performance, Hughton continued: “Certainly in the first half we didn’t play anywhere near the level that you need to to win.

“I thought they were quite good in that first-half period, Southampton. I thought they were better than us without having real clear chances to score.

“But we needed to be better than that. Unfortunately it took a goal against us to turn our fortunes around as regards our level of performance.”

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