Ralph Hasenhuttl on how Southampton plan to overcome fiery Fratton Park atmosphere against Portsmouth

Ralph Hasenhuttl is calling on his troops to block out the hostile reception Southampton will receive at Fratton Park and focus on delivering a victory against Pompey.

Monday, 23rd September 2019, 2:20 pm
Updated Saturday, 28th September 2019, 12:40 am
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl. Picture: OLLY GREENWOOD/AFP/Getty Images

The bitter rivals meet for the first time since 2012 in the Carabao Cup third round tomorrow night.

A red-hot atmosphere will be created by Blues fans, who’ll crank up the volume and rally behind Kenny Jackett’s men.

The south-coast bragging rights are at stake, with Pompey unbeaten against Southampton in 14 years.

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Hasenhuttl’s Premier League side are firm favourites, although they’ll have to overcome a fiery Fratton Park.

But the St Mary’s boss insists his side’s sole focus must be how they perform on the pitch.

He said: ‘It ends up 11 against 11 on the ground. Everything before and after the game, we should move away from because it’s not something we can influence.

‘For us, it’s more important to focus on the 90 minutes.

‘I can’t say when we went to Burnley or Sheffield (United) it was a nice atmosphere, they were also very loud and good atmospheres.

‘We have to compete as a team on the pitch.

‘I’ve seen similar games in Germany in the cup were there were about 6000 police in the town to make everything safe.

‘What I want to see is a football celebration from two games that do everything to win.

‘I’ve seen the videos, know about the history and the rivalry.

‘I can say that all of us, every member of this club and this team, is looking forward to the game to write history in our way.

‘It’s not thinking about what we can lose there but thinking what we can win there.’

Pompey have endured a terrible start to their League One campaign.

Saturday's 1-0 loss at Wycombe means they sit 20th in the table and have picked up just six points from a possible 21.

Two divisions and 51 places in the Football League separate the two foes, with Southampton odds-on with the bookmakers to advance into the fourth round.

Yet Hasenhuttl is expecting a tight game against Jackett's men and will play his strong side possible.

He added: ‘It’s a cup game and cup games are always a special atmosphere and a special moment for every player.

‘If you look at the winners in the past few years, games in the first, second and third round were very tight.

‘That’s what I expect, also, a very tight game against good opponents who give everything.

‘It's important for us and for my team we know what we’re focusing on and our performance.

‘What we will show from the first minute is we’re not going there thinking it's easy but going there to know we need the very best performance ever.

‘That’s why we’ll put the best possible team on the pitch.’