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'A marathon, not a sprint' - Saints' Hasenhuttl deflects pressure on his job

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By Reuters
'A marathon, not a sprint' - Saints' Hasenhuttl deflects pressure on his job
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Southampton v Watford - St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Britain - November 30, 2019 Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl after the match REUTERS/Dylan Martinez   -   Copyright  DYLAN MARTINEZ(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Struggling Southampton’s manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said on Tuesday that the Premier League season is a long-haul affair and that he still expects good results from his side, in comments ahead of Wednesday’s match against Norwich City.

“It is a marathon, not a sprint and we know how to handle it,” Hasenhuttl said when asked if he was feeling under pressure to save his job. The Saints sacked former manager Mark Hughes exactly a year ago with the club in the same position they are in now.

“I knew the job I’d take on wasn’t the easiest one because of our limitations. We have a special way of developing young players … That takes time,” he said.

Southampton’s 2-1 victory over Watford last Saturday ended a poor run of eight games without a win and lifted the side to 18th in the league with 12 points from 14 games.

“The way we showed how committed we are in the last few weeks is special and a signal that it was absolutely right to come here.”

Hassenhuttl said Sofiane Boufal had aggravated a toe injury against Watford and could miss the Norwich City match. The Morocco midfielder stubbed his big toe on a kitchen table last week but came on as a substitute in the Watford game.

“It got worse after the last game, the reaction wasn’t the best one, so for tomorrow it’ll be difficult,” Hasenhuttl told reporters.

“Maybe for the bench, but not for the start of the match. It’s not positive but he will not train today due to pain,” he added.

“He showed in the last game how important he is… we hope the injury gets better, we have a lot of games.”

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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