Portsmouth’s arch rivals, Southampton, unveil new manager Ralph Hasenhuttl – Premier League survival is top goal

New Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl
New Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl
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Ralph Hasenhuttl admitted his first priority as Southampton boss will be to steer them clear of the Premier League relegation zone.

The Austrian has been appointed St Mary’s manager on a two-and-a-half year deal, replacing Mark Hughes.

Hughes was sacked on Monday after a record of just one win in the top flight this season.

That solitary victory came against Crystal Palace on September 1, leaving Saints third from bottom.

Spurs added to Southampton’s relegation fears with a 3-0 victory over them on Wednesday night.

And with arch-rivals Pompey sitting top of League One – four points clear of nearest rivals Sunderland – there’s a real possibility that the south coast duo could go head to head again in the Championship next term.

Former RB Leipzig boss Hasenhuttl said he faced a tough challenge in keeping Southampton in the Premier League, particularly with the number of games on the horizon.

But the 51-year-old admitted it was not a test that frightened him.

Speaking at his official unveiling, Hasenhuttl said: ‘The first target is to get out of the relegation zone.

‘The focus for the near future has to be move as quickly as you can up the table.

‘It is tough but I am not frightened.

‘We have a lot of games coming up and if you know my football it is about training sessions and habits so when you don't have the chance to train it can be difficult to change things.

‘My goal is to develop the players as quickly as possible. It is about getting the defence stabilised quickly.’

Saints travel to Cardiff on Saturday without a win in 13 games.

Pompey go in search of an eighth consecutive win in all competitions when they host Southend.