Christmas spirit in short supply for Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl

Ralph Hasenhuttl

Southampton FC manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has admitted to not feeling too much in the Christmas spirit but is motivated to help the Saints end their winless Premier League run.

Southampton travel to West Ham on Boxing Day looking to return to winning ways in the top flight for the first time since November 5.

Hasenhuttl will celebrate Christmas for a fourth occasion in England in 2021 and admitted the lack of winter break in this country does affect his spirit in the festive period, having previously been off at this time of year during his other managerial roles in Germany.

“To be honest, since I am working in England the Christmas atmosphere and Christmas feeling is not at the highest level for me,” the 54-year-old said.

“Because working every day and going to work every day of the year doesn’t really help for getting into the Christmas atmosphere.

“I do my best to get some but it is hard.”

Ralph Hasenhuttl was appointed manager of Southampton in December 2018

Three points at West Ham's London Stadium would lift the mood of the Austrian-born coach and provide the perfect late present for the Saints faithful, who have not seen their team win any of their last six matches.

After facing West Ham on December 26, two days later Southampton will host Tottenham at St Mary’s and despite the level of opposition, Hasenhuttl is eager to create further space between the south coast club and the relegation zone, which currently stands at six points.

He added: “If we can take points, we can make the gap a little bit bigger, but we have two tough fixtures coming up with West Ham and Tottenham, so two teams in form and who it is always hard to get points against.

“But we have to be prepared for it and I think we are after a game against Crystal Palace where we did a good job.

“We are motivated, we are looking forward to having an immediate impact on Boxing Day and a good restart after a short break.

“It’s important that we find the rhythm very quickly because a lot of important fixtures are coming up now and every point is important for us to stay in the league.”

Southampton will host Tottenham at St Mary’s on 28 December

Given the quick turnaround, Hasenhuttl is set to make changes for the clash with Spurs next week but will not worry about that yet.

“First you concentrate on the first game, 100 per cent you aren’t thinking about the next,” he said.

“Two days after another game is not really helpful in football because the quality of games will also drop. Players cannot deliver what they want to do in two days.

“When we have to sell a product and we have to think about selling it the best way, then this is normally to see the best games over Christmas.

“There’s still enough time to play in the normal schedule but it is how it is and it means you have to think about rotation for the next game, but let’s play the first game and then we’ll see what we do.”