Southampton boss accepts significance of midweek clash with rivals AFC Bournemouth

RALPH Hasenhuttl acknowledged the significance of Wednesday’s clash with AFC Bournemouth but insisted he retained “full belief” in what the Saints are doing.

The St Mary’s side visit the Vitality Stadium five points behind their south coast Premier League rivals after 10 matches.

Bournemouth, initially managed by Scott Parker before Gary O’Neil took over on an interim basis, were relegation favorites heading into the season.

They were beaten 9-0 by Liverpool but are the only side in the division to remain unbeaten since, despite a difficult recruitment summer and many feeling they have a weaker squad.

The Saints, who are in the bottom three with eight points, need to start picking up wins and especially against teams they are likely to compete with at the end of the season.

“For us it’s a Premier League game and an important game,” said Hasenhuttl, who asked if there was any added incentive given the locality and the clubs’ shared goals.

“We’re going there and I think we know they’re in good shape right now, but we’re going there like we’ve always gone in the past with full belief in what we’re doing to make it a good night for we. ”

The encounter follows a 1-1 draw with West Ham United at St Mary’s which ended a run of four Premier League defeats for Hasenhuttl and Saints.

It could have been a first victory since August’s victory over Chelsea, after Romain Perraud put the Saints ahead and Che Adams wasted two big chances.

“For everyone, it’s very frustrating because those are the times when you can take a big step forward,” Hasenhuttl admitted.

“But the road would still be long. There’s no guarantee you’ll win games, but it does make things a little easier. And then you can certainly play a little more calmly but we are never in the situation.”

He added: “Let’s say every point we get is a point earned and we know we need every point.

“We are now going to Bournemouth and then against Arsenal, so another two games this week. We have to be ready for Wednesday’s game, we focus on the game immediately and hopefully we can win there.”

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