Ralph Hasenhuttl’s FA Cup ‘risk’ could yield big rewards for Southampton as Saints set up Wembley semi-final date with Leicester… and manager says ‘anything is possible’ from here
- Ralph Hasenhuttl’s decision to concentrate on the FA Cup has paid off for him
- Southampton brushed aside Bournemouth and now face Leicester at Wembley
- The Saints have yet to concede in the FA Cup this year in a hugely impressive run
- Hasenhuttl believes anything is possible in a one-off match in the semi-finals
Memo to all of those ‘concentrate-on-the-league’ managers: this is what can happen when a club commits to the FA Cup rather than treating it as an inconvenience.
Ralph Hasenhuttl said Southampton ‘took the risk of concentrating’ on the Cup and they were right to do so. The competition resembles an SOS — a Save Our Season — and it just might as they look forward to the semi-finals.
Sheffield United and their severely-limited squad aside, Southampton have averaged the joint-lowest changes for FA Cup ties among the Premier League clubs. Hasenhuttl’s men are taking it seriously, with Nathan Redmond enjoying a two-goal afternoon on Saturday.
Nathan Redmond was in fine form as he scored twice on a comfortable afternoon for the Saints
Ralph Hasenhuttl said his side took a risk focusing on the FA Cup but it is paying off nicely
Despite their dire league campaign, Southampton made it look like a Year 9 versus Year 8 game on the playground. Championship Bournemouth were no match for their bigger, better opponents.
‘We took the risk of concentrating on this Cup,’ Hasenhuttl said. ‘In the semi-final, I think, “Wow, this is a big success for this club”. Now we have a strong opponent to face but in one game anything is possible.’
Saints lost 9-0 at Manchester United but they have yet to concede in the FA Cup.
Southampton will face Leicester at Wembley in the semi-finals can seriously test the Foxes
‘Yes, we’ve had all clean sheets in every game,’ Hasenhuttl said. ‘It’s unbelievable. When you defend like this, it’s more likely that it happens. We did a good job.’
While Southampton’s ability to win has been questioned in the league, James Ward-Prowse’s energy can never be in doubt. With the visitors up 3-0, he was chasing the ball as if it was the only one left on the planet.
They have enough talent to be tricky customers for Leicester in the semi-finals — and Hasenhuttl does not want this Wembley visit to be a one-off.
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