A closer look at Ralph Hasenhuttl’s credentials as he edges closer to Southampton role

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Highly-rated Austrian manager Ralph Hasenhuttl is the favourite to succeed Mark Hughes as Southampton manager.

According to numerous reports, Hasenhuttl has already agreed a deal with the Premier League club to replace the outgoing Hughes.

But, as of the publication of this article, no formal announcement has been made by the club.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the 51-year-old’s background.

Hasenhuttl moved from hometown club Grazer AK to make his true mark with Austria Vienna, winning three consecutive titles in the Austrian Bundesliga from 1991 to 1993.

The forward scored three times in eight Austria caps, but could never force his way ahead of Toni Polster in the pecking order.

After spells with Cologne and Bayern Munich’s second team, Hasenhuttl retired from his playing career to move straight into coaching.

And he stayed in Germany, moving from youth team coach to manager at Unterhaching.

In his only full season at the helm, he just fell shy of securing a play-off place in Germany’s third tier.

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In two years in charge at the Red Bull club, Hasenhuttl secured a second-place finish in the Bundesliga, with the club performing better than a clutch of established outfits.

It was here that Hasenhuttl’s progressive playing style came to the fore.

Southampton had banked on Mark Hughes succeeding at St Mary’s owing to his wealth of Premier League experience.

But just one win in 14 matches this season forced the board to dismiss the former Wales striker.

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Appointing Hasenhuttl would represent a return to the calculated-gamble approach of drafting in a progressive foreign coach yet to test their methods in the Premier League.

This worked wonders with Mauricio Pochettino, now soaring with Tottenham, while the blueprint failed with another former boss Mauricio Pellegrino.

Hasenhuttl adopts a high-pressing system, which will put the onus on hard graft and top fitness levels at St Mary’s.

Saints can expect nothing but work in matches and training.

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