Ralph Hasenhuttl has urged Southampton’s squad to prevent the shame of being hammered 9-0 by Leicester becoming a catalyst for the club sliding towards Premier League relegation.
Manager Hasenhuttl admits Saints’ players and coaching staff must live with the ignominy of the heaviest home defeat in English top-flight history for the remainder of their careers.
But the Austrian has also called for perspective in the wake of the embarrassment and, with only 10 games played, demanded his side take control of their own destiny to avoid dropping out of the division.
“We know it’s not over, we have a long way to go,” said Hasenhuttl, whose team sit 18th in the table ahead of Saturday’s daunting trip to Manchester City.
“When it’s at the end of the season and you are relegated at that moment this is something completely different but we lost one game in a hard way.
“We lost also our goal difference and this is very, very bad for this whole situation.
“But in the end it is not over if you stand up again, and this is what we try to do, if you stay on the floor then it’s over but if you stand up and show up and get your heads up…
“You can’t make it un-happen and this mark we will have for the rest of our entire life and this result will stay, but focus on the next three points you can get.
“This is the good thing of football. You start 0-0 the next game.”
Hasenhuttl was quick to accept full responsibility for the debacle which equalled the highest defeat of the Premier League era and was the biggest loss in Southampton’s 134-year existence.
The former RB Leipzig coach says he struggled to sleep following the humiliation at the hands of Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes.
“I said that it’s not an easy situation for anybody at the club if you lose like this,” he said.
“Nothing before the game shows in this direction for me.
“These moments are not nice for anybody and it’s not easy to find the sleep then and the next days to find the right words and the right tone for the team.”
Saints produced an improved display during Tuesday’s 3-1 Carabao Cup loss against City and face a swift return to the Etihad Stadium in the league on Saturday.
Hasenhuttl wants his team to be “nasty as possible” against Pep Guardiola’s champions.
“It is another game that is against a not so bad opponent but as always you have a chance to get something and both teams will take from the Tuesday game the good and the bad things and try to change things,” said the 52-year-old.
“It’s another game of being as nasty as possible to not give them many chances and be a little more self-confident.”
Wingers Nathan Redmond and Sofiane Boufal should shake of minor knee problems to be involved, while Cedric Soares (calf) and Moussa Djenepo (hip/thigh) have returned to training.
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