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Ralph Hasenhuttl: ‘Manchester City will not underestimate us’

Ralph Hasenhuttl: ‘Manchester City will not underestimate us’

Ralph Hasenhuttl believes Premier League champions Manchester City “will not underestimate” his Southampton side ahead of Saturday’s encounter at the Etihad Stadium.

The Saints were one of only four teams who the Citizens failed to beat in the top flight last season, drawing 0-0 at the Etihad in September last year before playing out a 1-1 draw at St Mary’s in January.

Southampton have since endured a difficult start to the new campaign and head to the Etihad off the back of four defeats in their last five league matches.

Nevertheless, Hasenhuttl believes Pep Guardiola has already shown a sign of “respect” to his Southampton side after resting goal machine Erling Braut Haaland for 45 minutes in City’s 5-0 Champions League win over Copenhagen on Wednesday.

Haaland netted a brace in the first half against the Danish champions, taking his remarkable goal tally for the season to 19 in just 11 matches, but Guardiola decided to bring the Norwegian off at half time with his Citizens side 3-0 up at the interval.

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl on October 1, 2022© Reuters

Speaking to reporters ahead of Saturday’s clash, Hasenhuttl said: “[Man City] will not underestimate us. When you hear Pep talking after the [Copenhagen] game that he left players in the dressing room at half-time to be fresh for our game, then you know that he wants to come with the best possible squad against us.

“It’s a kind of respect to us. It doesn’t make it easier for us but, okay, we are going. Last year we had two good games against them, three good games. And finally, we want to be a team that that is showing their qualities.”

Hasenhuttl has not been surprised by Haaland’s electric start to life in English football, but he insists that the 22-year-old is not the only City players his Southampton team should be concerned about.

“It’s not that surprising that a good player coming in a good team can be a successful goalscorer,” said the Austrian.

“This is not that surprising for me. He’s scored goals in every club he has played so far and this is by far the best club he has played in so there was not one reason why he shouldn’t do it in this club.

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl barks orders on August 27, 2022© Reuters

“He’s an exceptional player and playing in an exceptional team and it’s what everybody sees now and it’s fantastic for the Premier League players like him are coming to us.”

Hasenhuttl added: “I think there are more players that you have to concentrate on. If you’re looking only at Erling Haaland I think we will not win this game.

“I think we have shown in the past against a strong side that we are competitive. This year they are even stronger and it’s a good challenge to show us again if we’re able to get something there.”

When asked if Man City’s current squad are the strongest he has faced since his appointment as Southampton boss in 2018, Hasenhuttl said: “Absolutely. I think they have very often situations where they are dominating the league and they are scoring three, four, five goals every time.”

Southampton, who have failed to win any of their last 11 Premier League visits to the Etihad since a 3-1 victory back in April 2004, currently sit in 16th place in the table and just one point above the relegation zone.

Meanwhile, Man City are in second place and require just a draw to climb to the top of the table above Arsenal, who play host to Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

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