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Ralph Hasenhuttl ‘excited’ for Southampton derby clash with Portsmouth

Hasenhuttl says his squad are up for the challenge posed by Portsmouth at Fratton Park

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl says he and his side are excited for tonight’s derby match with Portsmouth in the Carabao Cup Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl expects a positive reaction to last week’s defeat to AFC Bournemouth ahead of Saints’ derby showdown with Portsmouth in the Carabao Cup tonight.

“It’s always a chance to force a reaction from the players,” the Austrian manager said in his pre-match press conference. [H/T Daily Echo] “We showed a good reaction second half but we have to know if we give goals that easy away it is always difficult in a low score sport to come back.

“The players know that they invested a lot and that never feels good. The last four games we had good results and maybe didn’t play that good. This time we played much better and didn’t get something.

“We need to go in the lead one time in a home game which we didn’t do so far and that would help us massively. There were a few mistakes in this game and that is what we have to stop.”

Hasenhuttl said he and his players are fully aware of the meaning behind this fixture, and that they’re all excited at what Fratton Park will throw at them tonight in Southampton and Portsmouth’s first derby clash since 2012.

However, Hasenhuttl is fully aware of Saints’ trouble in beating Portsmouth at their place.

“I can say that all of us, every member of this club and this team, is looking forward to this game. We have a big chance to write the history in our way.

“It’s not about thinking what we can’t do but winning. We can win there. It’s a cup game and cup games are always a special atmosphere and a special moment for every player and this atmosphere is important for every cup competition.

“Look at the winners in recent years and they had tight games in the first round and maybe penalties. I expect a tight game against an opponent who will give everything. We do the same and hopefully the right winner.

“It’s important we know what we are focusing on and that is our performance and it’s important this is from the first minute.

“We cannot think it is easy.”