Following the conclusion of the 2018/19 Premier League season, it is now time to reflect on a campaign that has had its ups and downs.
Saints started the season poorly with just one win from their opening 16 league games which resulted in the departure of Mark Hughes.
Ralph Hasenhuttl came in and steadied the ship with back-to-back wins over Arsenal and Huddersfield.
Southampton were firmly in a relegation battle in January which made it surprising that the new manager was not interested in strengthening the squad with new additions.
A home defeat to Cardiff saw the side drop back into the bottom three with fresh fears over their Premier League status.
However, wins against Tottenham and Brighton put them in a much better position which culminated in survival following a 3-3 draw with Bournemouth.
There are plenty of lessons to be learnt from this campaign and we have picked our top five:
Need to holding onto leads better
Saints lost an incredible 29 points from winning positions throughout the season which played a big part in their lowly league position.
This was a trait which has been a problem for the last three managers and although Hasenhuttl’s reign showed signs of that improving, old habits have resurfaced more recently.
If Southampton want to make strides going forward next season, this must be something that they rectify quickly.
Must start better
When the fixtures were announced last June, there was hope that Southampton could make a flying start with what many considered to be a kind opening couple of months.
However, Saints failed to capitalise on this and were left in a sticky situation when the tougher games came around.
Going forward, we don’t want to rely on big wins against Arsenal and Spurs to see us safe and leave us fighting relegation all season.
Four at the back doesn't work with these players
Finding the right system could prove vital at the bottom of the table and Hasenhuttl doesn’t seem to favour the 5-3-2 formation that ultimately proved successful.
Once survival was assured, the gaffer experimented with his preferred 4-2-2-2 system but it seemed our current centre-backs struggle with playing four at the back.
This formation could work if Saints go out and get a better centre-half that can cope with having less protection.
Otherwise, Hasenhuttl may have to stick with five at the back in order to improve the defensive record.
Trust in youth
The main reason that the manager didn’t feel the need to sign anyone in January was that he was trusting the younger players in high-pressure games.
Most notably, Yan Valery was the breakthrough star of the season having ousted the more experienced Cedric who ended up leaving on loan as a result.
Jan Bednarek, Josh Sims and Angus Gunn were also useful for Hasnehuttl having not been given a look in at the start of the campaign.
The Southampton way has always been about promoting youth and Hasenhuttl has quickly bought into that philosophy.
Hasenhuttl is an excellent coach
There wasn’t much that Saints fans knew about their new manager when he was appointed in December.
Although it appeared to be a bit of a coup, they didn’t know exactly what to expect.
What was most notable about his short tenure so far was the improvement that was evident in so many players.
James Ward-Prowse, Nathan Redmond and Jannik Vestergaard were examples of this with all three having excellent second halves of the season.
The gaffer admitted that he sat down with each player and worked with them all using videos to improve their game, and it worked.
It’s exciting going forward that Hasenhuttl is able to do this as it means we can’t be too quick to dismiss any player.
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