Ralph Hasenhuttl believes the FA Cup represents a “big chance” to clinch silverware and insists his attitude towards the competition has not been altered by Southampton significantly easing their relegation concerns.
Saints’ remarkable resurgence has alleviated mounting pressure on Hasenhuttl and his team ahead of Saturday’s fourth-round tie with Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham.
The in-form south coast club have surged up the Premier League table on the back of seven wins from 11 games, with only leaders Liverpool and champions Manchester City accumulating more points during that time.
Southampton manager Hasenhuttl, who made 10 changes for the third-round win over Huddersfield, is adamant league position has no bearing on his approach to the cup.
“Even if we would be lower in the table, we know about the importance of this competition,” said the Austrian.
“When you see the trophy, I think everybody wants to get their hands on it.
“It’s a short way to go there, a few games, and it’s a big chance to get a trophy and this is everything that’s interesting for the weekend.
“We will go with the best possible squad to get into the next round against a strong side.”
Southampton’s superb form has moved them eight points clear of the drop zone and just three shy of fifth-placed Manchester United and weekend opponents Spurs.
European qualification is currently a realistic objective but Hasenhuttl is eager to avoid complacency and risk the “rainy days” returning.
“This is exactly the problem in modern football – you book a few wins and suddenly everybody is dreaming,” he said.
“They can do it. For us, it’s important that we still see how good we are.
“We took a few fantastic results but we know that if we stop doing what made us strong then we will immediately be a team that is not really competitive.
“All the rainy days we had before the sun came out helped us to enjoy the moment but to remember how quick it can change, this is a good message.”
Tottenham travel to the south coast with a solitary win from their previous five Premier League matches, a disappointing run which included a 1-0 loss at St Mary’s on New Year’s Day.
Hasenhuttl dismissed suggestions it is a good time to face the eight-time FA Cup winners.
“I don’t think the confidence is low because they won (against Norwich on Wednesday) and every game you win gives you confidence,” he said.
“They’re a strong side with fantastic players, fantastic manager.
“Although we won the last game, we know how tough it was. It was a tight game and it will be a tough fight, I think.”
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