Thursday 13 December 2018

Hasenhuttl facing uphill battle after seeing Spurs stroll

Tottenham 3 Southampton 1

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Matt Law

Ralph Hasenhuttl was christened the Alpine Klopp in Germany and Southampton's new manager will now be in no doubt that he and his players have a Premier League mountain to climb.

Goals from Harry Kane, Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min meant Tottenham bounced back from their North London derby defeat to Arsenal, and underlined the size of the task facing Hasenhuttl - despite substitute Charlie Austin's late consolation strike.

Bottom of the table and without the promise of big money to spend, Hasenhuttl will need all his Klopp-like qualities to drag his new team clear of relegation - starting against Cardiff City on Saturday.

He was in the stands next to Southampton's director of football operations Ross Wilson and the pair barely had time for any small talk as Tottenham hit the post then took the lead inside the first 10 minutes.

The visitors' frail defence was first exposed in the third minute, when Eric Dier's long ball was nodded on by Kieran Trippier and Son volleyed against a post.

Southampton did not heed the warning, however, as they were punished for switching off again in the ninth minute. Trippier played a short corner to Christian Eriksen, who was unmarked and had time to send in a low cross that Kane converted at the near post.

Tottenham's Harry Kane in action with Southampton's Jack Stephens. Photo: Dylan Martinez/Reuters
Tottenham's Harry Kane in action with Southampton's Jack Stephens. Photo: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Manager for the night Kelvin Davis had made four changes from the Southampton side that had drawn against Manchester United, with Steven Davis, James Ward-Prowse, Manolo Gabbiadini and Matt Targett all coming in.

Given his new team's bad start, Hasenhuttl will have been satisfied to have seen Southampton go in for the break only one goal behind. But the visitors started the second half just as badly as they had done the first and the game was effectively over in the 55th-minute.

Alex McCarthy tipped an Eriksen free-kick wide, but from the Dane's resulting corner, Moura had a shot blocked by Jack Stephens but reacted quickest to fire the rebound into the net. Kane then set up Son for the third and decisive goal, leaving Hasenhuttl with much to ponder. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Southampton's Charlie Austin scores their first goal. Photo: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images via Reuters
Southampton's Charlie Austin scores their first goal. Photo: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images via Reuters

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