Ralph Hasenhüttl is looking forward to Friday night’s clash with Norwich City, as the 2019/20 Premier League season resumes.
With nine games remaining in the campaign, both sides will be in action for the first time since the beginning of March.
Despite facing an intensive fixture list, the Saints manager is confident his side can handle the demands.
“In general, it’s not a problem for us because the players are used to having two games in a week, but the difference is that we have not had such a long pre-season, which could be an issue,” he said.
But the general level of fitness is good so the intensity can help you.
ON EMBRACING THE FIXTURE SCHEDULE
“We showed over Chritstmas that it’s something that fits us and the way we like to play. It’s a lot of games over a short term and one of the reasons we’re looking forward to this period now.”
Saints were 2-1 victors in the reverse fixture back in December, thanks to first-half efforts from Danny Ings and Ryan Bertrand.
Although previous form may now not count due to the three-month suspension of action, Hasenhüttl is still expecting to face a Norwich side with familiar tactics.
“I think in the three weeks you cannot change a lot of your basic behaviours,” he said. “You don’t have the time to do this because in the beginning you’re working in small groups and then using every session to play 11v11.
“You have to do this to give them a feeling about the positioning on the pitch and to get their mind back to where you are in each situation as it’s been so long.
“So I don’t think there will be a big change. We know how Norwich want to play, strong in possession, so that means we have to be very good and organised, which hopefully we will be.”
One noticeable change to the Premier League will be alterations made to the rules regarding substitutions.
Each team can now have up to nine substitutes on the bench and make a maximum of five changes in each match, something Hasenhüttl is wary of over-utilising.
There are some positives but also some negatives.
ON CHANGES TO SUBSTITUTIONS
“It doesn’t mean we have to make five changes immediately in every game,” he said.
“When you make changes you want to make them to get better, but with some parts of your game you need good organisation – set-pieces for example – and this can change when you have five substitutes added.
“We must be quite careful about the benefit it can have or not, which is a good challenge for a manager.”