(Reuters) – Southampton’s record 9-0 Premier League defeat to Leicester City last week has left a stain on the club but it came early enough in the season to give the players a chance to put things right, manager Ralph Hasenhuettl has said.
Leicester recorded the biggest away victory in English top-flight history and equalled the Premier League record win against Southampton on Friday, and Hasenhuettl said he had struggled to come to terms with the result.
“Tough is the wrong word,” he told the BBC after his team’s 3-1 defeat by Manchester City in the League Cup fourth round on Tuesday. “It was a challenge for me to find the right words and … the right answers.
“I’ve never had a situation in my life or managing career like that. It’s still there and you can’t forget it. This mark we have on our face now, when somebody is not doing enough they should look in the mirror and think about that game.”
The Austrian also said he had held clear-the-air talks with his team in the wake of the Leicester loss and said their main aim in the Cup match against City was avoiding a similar scoreline.
“It couldn’t get worse than last week. It was the main goal that we had,” he said.
Hasenhuettl added that Southampton, who are in the relegation zone and face Manchester City again in the league on Saturday, had time to get back on track.
“We’re trying to say sorry for Friday because we have this mark now and I think the time of the season that this happened can be a big chance for us,” he said.
“If it was at the end and we were struggling in a relegation battle then it would be horrible. At the moment, I think it can help us see things clearer. It means I can see the players I can trust.”
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)