Ralph Hasenhuttl urges Southampton to challenge for FA Cup again

Leicester City v Southampton – FA Cup – Semi Final – Wembley Stadium
(Image credit: John Sibley)

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has challenged his squad to use last season’s FA Cup heartbreak to drive them on to Wembley once again.

The Saints host Sky Bet Championship side Coventry on Saturday looking to book a place in the fifth round.

Last season Hasenhuttl guided his team through to the semi-finals, where there were edged out 1-0 by Leicester, who went on to lift the trophy by beating Chelsea.

With Southampton sitting 12th in the Premier League and appearing set well clear of the relegation battle, Hasenhuttl has targeted another extended FA Cup run.

“We have shown last season that there is always a chance to come very far – we have been in the semi-finals and it was absolutely enjoyable,” Hasenhuttl said.

“Even more interesting is that (this season) it will be in a moment when you know all the supporters can come to watch it at Wembley, so this is the target to do even better than last season.

“Last season we had been very clear in our message that we take it (FA Cup) very seriously because we have been (in a) very good position in the table.

“This season it is similar, but we have also a bigger squad and this makes it easier for me than last season when we took the risk and then had a lot of injuries.

“I remember the Arsenal game (in the fourth round) where we lost three players afterwards (to injury) which hurt us a lot, but in the end, we have to take it very seriously – and we will definitely because it is an epic chance, our supporters love it.

“We also love it to be in the next round of the FA Cup and to be part of this competition as long as possible.”

Hasenhuttl added: “It is getting tougher every year because the top teams are getting stronger and are taking it more seriously, so we just have to take it round-by-round.”

The FA Cup tie is sold out at St Mary’s Stadium, where Hasenhuttl’s squad will wear a special limited edition shirt to raise awareness and funds for Saints Foundation as the charity celebrates its 20th anniversary.

The Sky Blues have taken up their allocation of just over 5,000 tickets and Hasenhuttl has warned against any complacency.

“Coventry won’t be an easy game, it will be a tough challenge,” the Southampton boss said.

“They are a team with a clear plan. I like how they play, how they press and how they defend.

“They will come super motivated, backed by their (travelling) crowd, but we will come with our own intensity, then we will see who has the better finish.”

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