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Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl wary of threat posed by Sheffield United

Aston Villa v Southampton – Premier League – Villa Park
(Image credit: Nick Potts)

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has warned his side not to think they will get an easy ride when facing struggling Sheffield United on Sunday.

The Blades prop up the rest of the Premier League, having mustered just one point from 11 games so far, with six defeats in a row.

Hasenhuttl’s well-drilled side, meanwhile, head into the weekend’s fixtures sitting fifth and on the back of only one defeat in the past nine matches.

The Austrian, though, will not allow any sense of complacency on Sunday, when Southampton will welcome back 2,000 fans to St Mary’s Stadium for the first time since March.

“Before the game (on Monday night), everybody said ‘Brighton, they are not so bad’, then after when you win, (everybody says) ‘yeah, it is only Brighton’,” the Southampton manager said.

“But it is not ‘only Brighton’, it is definitely a strong side and you must always pay attention about how you discuss opponents.

“If it is not a big top-six club then (people say) every time ‘it is not so difficult’ – but that is absolutely not right.

“I told my players we did a fantastic job (on Monday), it is not easy to win there, but we went there and turned the tables to win 2-1, which was a fantastic performance from our side.

“What we have done there with the same intensity, defending against the ball with everything we have, we have to do exactly the same job in the next weekend.

“Then again you will hear ‘it is only Sheffield United’ – but no, it is not ‘only Sheffield United’.

“This is a team which is definitely fighting for everything and to win against such a team is always a tough challenge for us.

“You will see how focused and concentrated we are, we only need the three points as a focus to give our best, and this is what we will do.”

Hasenhuttl feels one of the keys to Southampton’s consistency this season has been everyone buying into the same mindset.

“We are not maintaining (our position), we are still developing, we are still working hard on our game,” said the Southampton manager, who reported no fresh selection concerns following Monday night’s win.

“It is interesting to listen to the players talking about tactics and solutions with the ball, after training they are discussing it.

“This is definitely what I like to see, that they are really taking part in every session and really thinking about what we are trying to do.

“This is a fantastic atmosphere to get better – if you want only to hold what you have, that is not enough, you must develop and extend your qualities, this is what we try to do.”