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Hasenhuttl Reveals Saints’ Cup Ambition

Hasenhuttl Reveals Saints’ Cup Ambition

Ralph Hasenhuttl has vowed to give the cup competitions more attention this season ahead of Tuesday’s Carabao Cup second round clash with Fulham. The Austrian arrived to replace the sacked Mark Hughes at St Mary’s in January with the side struggling in a Premier League relegation scrap.

As a result, Hasenhuttl was relatively unconcerned after his first experience of the FA Cup saw his new side suffer a penalty shoot-out defeat at the hands of Championship side Derby in a third-round replay.

The 52-year-old former RB Leipzig coach insisted that he was fully focused on avoiding top-flight relegation back then but has a different approach this campaign.

The Saints reached the final of the League Cup in 1979 and again in 2017, so Hasenhuttl is keen to enjoy a good run this season.
He said: “We said last season we were happy that we were out – not happy – but it was not that bad that we didn’t play in the FA Cup. “But this year we want to come as far as possible and we concentrate absolutely on this cup competition.”

Despite Hasenhuttl’s vow to treat the cup matches seriously, there is a likelihood that he will make some changes to give some of his squad players an opportunity to shine against the Cottagers.

One of those players could be Morocco international winger Sofiane Boufal, who is looking to resurrect his Saints career having been shipped out on loan to Spanish side Celta Vigo last season.

The 25-year-old, who cost £16million when he joined from Lille in 2016, came off the bench to set up the clinching goal in Saturday’s 2-0 Premier League win at Brighton and could be rewarded with his first start for the club since March 2018 at Fulham.

And, while Hasenhuttl appears content to give Boufal a second chance at St Mary’s, he is yet to be convinced that the player can become a key member of his squad.

When asked if he will start this week, Hasenhuttl said: “To play from the beginning it’s a little bit different because you must be very, very concentrated also against the ball and if he has this for 90 minutes, I don’t know. “When I know that I have such a good player from the bench, such a good substitute, then that’s a problem. “If you’re too good as a substitute, the manager always thinks I can bring him later.”

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