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I understand it completely – Ralph Hasenhuttl knows why Saints fans are unhappy

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side lost at Brentford (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side lost at Brentford (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Ralph Hasenhuttl admits he understands why Southampton supporters rained down criticism of his management as they slumped to defeat at Brentford.

The Bees eased to a 3-0 victory as skipper Pontus Jansson and recalled Yoane Wissa struck in the first half before Kristoffer Ajer’s first Brentford goal all-but rubber-stamped their top-flight status.

Saints, meanwhile, are stuttering towards the end of the season and are still not mathematically safe from the drop, albeit a catastrophic series of results would be required to see Hasenhuttl’s side relegated.

After Hasenhuttl replaced Stuart Armstrong with Oriol Romeu, the away fans began chants of “you don’t know what you’re doing” followed by a chorus of “you’re getting sacked in the morning”.

Asked about the negativity from his own fans, Hasenhuttl replied: “At that time they were absolutely frustrated and I understand it completely.

“I take it absolutely, no problem. I am responsible for the results, for the mistakes my players make.

“This is my job. We can understand the frustration because at the moment we are not playing like a Premier League team, especially not in and around the boxes.

“It is not something that should hurt, this is the business. It doesn’t help when I get emotional or whatever.”

The Austrian is now keen to keep his players focused on the final two games of the season, hosting title-chasing Liverpool before a final-day trip to Leicester.

“We knew how we can create but it’s up to us up front to take something from the chances,” Hasenhuttl said.

“Otherwise all the effort we put in is for nothing. We’re far away from having the quality to win games. That’s what we have to change. We are struggling to score goals. It’s not only on our strikers. We have defended really poorly today.

“40 points might not be enough. Two games so we have to be absolutely focused.”

Brentford head coach Thomas Frank got one over on Hassenhuttl but sympathised with his counterpart following the chants.

“That is not nice,” he said.

“I think Ralph has done a top job at Southampton, he is very, very clear in the way he plays and he has managed to create a clear identity for Southampton.

“In the past three seasons he has created some incredible moments for the Southampton fans and I think if you are bottom 10, bottom 12 in that bracket, if you can stay in the Premier League every year that is top. I think he has done a good job.”

The result means Brentford have all-but secured their top-flight status and a first season in the Premier League could yet end with a top-half finish.

The three points here means they now have 43 for the season – the same as fellow promoted clubs Watford and Norwich combined – a statistic which pleased Frank.

He said: “I think every year there is one from the Championship done fine, it just shows it is only one out of three and you can’t predict if it is first place, second place or the play-off winners.

“I had a very good feeling and a big belief going into this season.”

Asked if his side are now safe, Frank added: “That is a question we’ve been asked a lot, we never talked about ourselves which I am very pleased with.

“I am pleased for the win and performance and we have a good opportunity to finish on a high, we have had a remarkable season so far.”

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