Southampton will need to produce a high-intensity game on Sunday if they are to overcome Premier League leaders Everton at St Mary’s, manager Ralph Hasenhüttl has said.
Saints, who are unbeaten in three, welcome Carlo Ancelotti’s high-flying side to the south coast, with the Toffees heading into the latest round of matches at the summit of the standings, with 13 points from their first five fixtures.
we have to be better committed and with a really, really intense game.
on facing everton
“It will be an interesting game, I think,” said Hasenhüttl. “An intense game against a strong side. For us, it is another chance to show up and show that we can also be a competitive opponent against this strong side and this is the goal for the weekend.
“We know that we played a very good game after lockdown against them, with a 1-1 [at Goodison Park], and normally we could win this game I think. It was a good game and we want to be this strong opponent that we expect to be, and we will need a really good performance.
“I think they have definitely improved their game a lot. They have produced very good performances so far. If you win against Tottenham and you draw against Liverpool at home it’s not a coincidence.
“You see them playing better organised, and we have to be better committed and with a really, really intense game, because otherwise the quality they have can kill you and we must be aware of the best possible team in the moment.”
Hasenhüttl is also hoping for a better start from his side than what they produced in last week’s 3-3 draw at Chelsea, when they fell 2-0 behind inside the opening 30 minutes, but he is encouraged to know the resilience within his team if they do have to overcome a deficit.
“Normally when you play a first half like we played against Chelsea you don’t have a chance to get something,” he said. “Two down after 30 minutes, normally it’s gone.
“I must say the good thing is we are also then believing on what we are doing and showing some strength maybe nobody expected from us.
“We know ourselves that we are one step ahead in our development now and we can expect also from ourselves that we can still fight back, and this is a good message I think for the rest of the season.
“It doesn’t mean that we always want to go down at first before playing well. We have to have a better start in this game, because it is not always possible to do this, but if it’s necessary we can also be thinking about what we did last weekend.
“But I prefer to have a better start, to be immediately in the game, to have a better organisation against the ball and then we will not get such big issues with some deep runs from some strikers.”