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Ralph Hasenhuttl hoping to emulate Southampton’s previous FA Cup success story

Soccer – FA Cup Final – Manchester United v Southampton – Wembley
(Image credit: PA)

Ralph Hasenhuttl needs no reminding of what it would mean if his Southampton side were to write their own FA Cup success story.

The Saints face Leicester at Wembley in Sunday’s semi-final out to secure a shot at lifting the famous old trophy on May 15, when some 21,000 fans are expected to be back at the national stadium.

Lawrie McMenemy’s then Second Division outfit produced a shock 1-0 win over Manchester United as Southampton claimed an unexpected triumph in 1976 with a late goal from Bobby Stokes.

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Austrian coach Hasenhuttl hopes to be able to emulate those achievements, which have gone down in the club’s folklore, with Southampton later experiencing cup final heartache when beaten by Arsenal at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff in 2003.

“I don’t have to speak about it with someone because I know everything now,” said Hasenhuttl, appointed in early December 2018.

“As soon as I was coming (here), I heard everything about it. You see the pictures all around here.

“You see the pictures on the way to the dressing room, when the Queen gives us the trophy, so you know everything about it.

“I have seen the pictures when they were celebrating in the city and it would be a big success for us definitely, also coming to the final first and this is the goal for the weekend.”

Southampton captain Peter Rodrigues (right) celebrates with the FA Cup in 1976 at Wembley

Southampton captain Peter Rodrigues (right) celebrates with the FA Cup in 1976 at Wembley (PA Archive)

The Southampton side of 1976 included experienced heads like Peter Osgood, Mick Channon and veteran captain Peter Rodrigues.

The story goes that following their Wembley triumph, the players had enjoyed a night of celebrations on the town – rolling out of a casino in the early hours to fill the FA Cup trophy with tea from a burger van.

Hasenhuttl, though, is not about to put the champagne on ice just yet.

“At three o’clock in the morning, tea is not such a bad idea,” the Saints boss joked.

“For me, it’s more about how we can get our hands on it than what we drink from it – although I’m sure we would find something.”

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has seen his side reach the FA Cup semi-finals without conceding a goal in this season’s competition (Glyn Kirk/PA)

Hasenhuttl admits his personal cup statistics are “horrible” – a record he hopes to set straight in 2021.

“Maybe this is the year when everything comes together,” the former Ingolstadt and RB Leipzig boss said.

“I lost so often in penalty shoot-outs, or there were horrible games where we were 2-0 up and lost it.

“My cup record is completely opposite what I have done in the leagues, but maybe the moment is coming where everything turns around.”

Southampton have yet to concede a goal in the FA Cup this season, their run having knocked out holders Arsenal before wins at Wolves and then Bournemouth to reach the last four.

Hasenhuttl knows it is all about getting another result on Sunday – however it comes.

“In this game there is nothing about beautiful play or beautiful football players. It is more about taking the win,” he said.

“It is about doing everything to have one goal more than the opponent. For this you cannot look to have some beautiful moves or something like that.

“We need to be successful on Sunday – to be successful you have to be very committed, work very hard against the ball to not concede a goal and I think this is the key of winning.”