Man City 5-2 Southampton: Hasenhuttl's bold decision now needs to pay off

  • Tom Kelly
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl

Southampton journalist Dan Sheldon has claimed that Ralph Hasenhuttl’s decision to make wholesale changes against Manchester City “needs to pay off” in their next fixture.

On Wednesday evening, the Saints travelled to the Etihad and suffered a 5-2 defeat against Pep Guardiola’s side. 

Kevin De Bruyne scored twice and Ilkay Gundogan added to his goal tally but it was Riyad Mahrez who stole the show. The Algerian recorded a brace and walked away with the Man of the Match award.

Heading into the game, Hasenhuttl made six changes to the side that beat Sheffield United 2-0 at the weekend. The likes of Fraser Forster and Takumi Minamino were dropped to the bench and the Saints ultimately struggled.

Following the game, The Athletic’s Southampton correspondent Sheldon indicated that this bold decision to drop a handful of starters needs to pay dividends against Brighton.

“Another disappointing night in Manchester for Southampton,” Sheldon told The Athletic’s discussion page.

“I feel like Hasenhuttl’s decision to make wholesale changes needs to pay off against Brighton now.”

The Saints journalist also went onto say that he considered the manager’s decision to rest Forster was “odd”.

GIVEMESPORT’s Tom Kelly says…

Regardless of City’s recent derby defeat, playing Guardiola’s side away from home was always going to be a mountain of a task for Southampton.

The Saints only recently picked up their second Premier League victory of 2021 and have recorded just seven points this calendar year. Furthermore, who could forget their recent 9-0 thumping by Manchester United.

Now, the South Coast side have a string of games against four clubs who are also in the bottom half of the table, with their next fixture being at home against a 17th-placed Brighton.

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Hasenhuttl’s men are also due to face Burnley, West Brom and Crystal Palace in the coming weeks. 

Southampton, who were briefly top of the Premier League at the start of November, need to perform in this run of fixtures to turn their season around. The Saints are currently 14th and just seven points from the bottom three.

It’s likely that Hasenhuttl looked at his upcoming schedule and decided to cut his losses with an away trip to Man City. However, to echo Sheldon’s point, a victory against Brighton at the weekend is needed to justify that approach.

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