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“We are not fit enough”, Ralph Hasenhuttl says Southampton are being undone by rustiness

Saints boss Hasenhuttl bemoaned a lack of pre-season as being the cause of his side’s shaky start to the 2020-21 campaign

Southampton v Brentford - Carabao Cup Second Round knocked out 2-0 Ralph Hasenhuttl unfit squad Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said his side are lacking match fitness after Saints crashed out of the Carabao Cup to Championship side Brentford in a 2-0 home loss last night.

Saints fielded a full-strength team to take on the second-tier Londoners, but Hasenhuttl’s men fell to two first-half goals from Christian Norgaard and Josh Dasilva and never looked like mounting a comeback.

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Two games in and two defeats, the other being against Crystal Palace in their Premier League season opener last Saturday, Hasenhuttl says a lack of pre-season has led to poor fitness and even worse performances on the pitch as players fail to live up to the club’s aggressive pressing tactics.

“In the moment we are by far not that good as we have been last season,” Hasenhuttl told the press after his side’s defeat. [H/T PA via FFT] “There are some reasons why: we had no pre-season, we had no time to work together. We had definitely physically a different level when we came back after lockdown.

“We are out of position at the moment. Our game is very intense, we need to have fit players. In the moment, we are not fit enough. It seems we have problems in a few parts of our game and this can cost you always points and wins.”

Though Hasenhuttl appeared bitterly disappointed at Southampton’s early exit from the Carabao Cup, the Austrian said there could be a silver lining.

With one less competition to think about, Hasenhuttl said this could help his side find their fitness form on the training ground before the pitch.

“We are out of the cup so we have maybe in the next weeks more time to train and to work together on our behaviours because in the moment, to be honest, we are far away.

“In the past, we were only competitive when we had all the players in the highest level and working together on our shape.”