Ralph Hasenhuttl has warned Manchester United to expect a far different Southampton to the side thrashed 9-0 at Old Trafford last season.
Southampton have lost just once in seven Premier League games and visit United buoyed by their 3-2 comeback win at Tottenham on Wednesday.
It is perhaps also a sign of Southampton’s progression that, by avoiding defeat at Old Trafford on Saturday, it will be the first time they would be unbeaten against both Manchester clubs in a single Premier League season.
“If you lose in this way it always hurts,” Saints boss Hasenhuttl reflected on the 9-0 defeat to United in February 2021, which came 15 months after a similar scoreline at home to Leicester.
“Everybody knows the special situation. One man down after one minute, then two men down later.
“We concede nine goals with a very young team and a lot of academy players, and this is what the Premier League can give you.
“I must say it did not hurt that much like the first time we lost with this result.
“But it’s part of our history and we cannot deny that we lost there. So the goal should be to make it better than last time.”
The two sides drew 1-1 at St Mary’s in August when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was in charge of United.
Solskjaer’s successor Ralf Rangnick is well-known to Hasenhuttl as the pair worked together at RB Leipzig for two years from 2016 to 2018.
📅1 Year Ago Today:
🤦♂️A night to forget for the Saints! pic.twitter.com/28zZqmbM5c
— SPORF (@Sporf) February 2, 2022
Hasenhuttl took over team affairs from Rangnick, who became the Bundesliga club’s sporting director.
“The targets and expectations are high,” Hasenhuttl said of Rangnick’s United role.
“The results have been good in some moments, not perfect in the others. But they are still in close touch to the Champions League spots.
“This is the target for them and what they have to achieve at the end of the season. This team should normally get that because of the quality they have.
“We have just played against Man City and Tottenham, two teams at the top of the league. Now we have a third one and it will be interesting to see how tough it is against them. I’m sure we’ll need the same good performance against them.”
On Southampton’s good form, which has lifted them into 10th place, Hasenhuttl said: “We are in good shape with a good mind set.
“You can definitely see this season after a tough start we are getting better and better.
“After losing a few players in the summer we needed time to adapt to a new hierarchy in the team and also new behaviours and new ways of playing football.
“It looks like we found a way of how we want to play and how we can be successful.
“It’s tough to go there (Old Trafford) and win. But they are warned we are not so bad, so definitely they won’t underestimate us.
“They are still the favourites in that game, but hopefully again we can give a good performance.”