Premier League managers’ playing careers rated, including Frank Lampard and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

4 Sep

All 20 Premier League managers have done exceptionally well to get into the position they’re in.

They’re in charge of teams in, arguably, the best league in the world – but what were they like as players?

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola played for Barcelona at senior level for over ten years
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Some reached the very top of football, playing for huge clubs including Chelsea, Manchester United and Barcelona.

However, others didn’t have so much to put on their CV’s when they were trying to break into management.

Below you can see where each Premier League manager ranks based on their playing careers, according to talkSPORT.com.

20. Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace)

The veteran manager is best known for his days in the dugout and with good reason too.

Hodgson played for Palace at youth level but could never break into the first-team and then went on to play non-league football at a string of clubs for several years.

He began his training to become a coach in his early twenties so it’s no surprise Hodgson occupies bottom spot in this chart.

Hodgson never really made it as a player
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19. Brendan Rodgers (Leicester City)

He didn’t have much of a playing career at senior level but this was through no fault of Rodgers.

The Northern Irishman, who has managed Swansea and Liverpool in the Premier League before taking his current post at Leicester, had to retire as a professional at 20-years-old due to a genetic knee injury.

Like Hodgson, Rodgers studied coaching very young and has built up his name ever since.

18. Daniel Farke (Norwich City)

The German has taken Norwich back to the big time and their attractive playing style should see the Canaries get a lot of good results this season.

Farke, 42, has already achieved more as a manager than he ever did as a player
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However, Farke’s career as a player was not so good as he spent his short playing career in the lower levels of German football, representing SV Lippstadt, Bonner SC and SV Meppen.

17. Eddie Howe (Bournemouth)

Another one whose playing career was blighted by injury, Cherries boss Howe enjoyed limited success before turning to management.

He begun his career at Bournemouth and was signed by Harry Redknapp at Portsmouth in 2002 but sustained a knee injury shortly afterwards.

Pompey got promoted to the Premier League in 2003 but Howe was not part of that success and he eventually hung up his boots in 2007, aged 29.

It’s likely Howe would have had more success as a player were it not for his injuries
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16. Chris Wilder (Sheffield United)

Sheffield United manager Wilder is living the dream by managing the club he supports in the top flight and he was arguably living the dream at the start of his playing career too by playing for them.

But after six years at Bramall Lane, via four different loan spells, Wilder was offloaded to Rotherham United.

The former right-back played for eleven different clubs in his playing career but did not see any kind of success compared to what he’s experienced as a manager.

15. Dean Smith (Aston Villa)

Villans boss Smith played for five different clubs in the football league over a 16-year playing career but his success was limited.

Smith is now in charge of Villa, the team he grew up supporting
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Smith came close to achieving promotion to the third tier of English football with Leyton Orient but the O’s lost in the play-off final twice.

The closest he ever got to the Premier League as a player was when he was at Sheffield Wednesday, who were one league below for one season.

14. Sean Dyche (Burnley)

A promising start to former Nottingham Forest man Dyche’s playing career was put on hold by a broken leg and after that he had to settle with bouncing around clubs in the lower divisions.

Probably the most memorable moment of his playing career saw him reach the FA Cup semi-finals with Chesterfield in 1997 where they almost beat Premier League side Middlesbrough.

12. Sean Dyche (Burnley)
Dyche almost helped Chesterfield to surprise FA Cup glory
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Dyche scored a penalty which put Chesterfield 2-0 up against Boro at Old Trafford but the game finished 3-3. Boro booked their place in the final by winning the replay 3-0.

13. Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)

By his own admission, Klopp was not a particularly talented footballer and probably would have moved into management sooner than he did if Mainz let him.

Klopp played for five different German clubs but his days at Mainz are what his playing days are best known for.

He played for them for eleven years but never played in the Bundesliga despite going close to promotion a couple of times. He became manager in February 2001 and the rest as they say is history.

Klopp has achieved plenty as a manager, however
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12. Marco Silva (Everton) 

The Toffees boss edges out Klopp as he managed to make a grand total of two appearances in Portugal’s top flight but Silva didn’t have much of a playing career.

These appearances came while on loan at S.C. Campomaiorense but Silva spent most of his playing days at second or third division clubs in Portugal.

11. Graham Potter (Brighton)

You could argue that Potter has somewhat come from nowhere in recent seasons, however, he has plenty of experience playing in England.

The Brighton boss played for twelve different clubs including a season-long spell at Southampton in the Premier League, which helped him earn his only international cap for England’s Under-21 side.

It remains to be seen whether Potter will be a success as Brighton boss
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10. Manuel Pellegrini (West Ham)

The Chilean was a one-club man throughout his 13-year playing career, representing Universidad de Chile.

Pellegrini started when the club were going through a lean patch of form but they won the league title in 1979. He hung up his boots in 1986 aged 32.

9. Unai Emery (Arsenal)

Although he made just five LaLiga appearances, Emery enjoyed a decent career playing in the second tier of Spanish football, making over 200 appearances over the space of seven seasons.

However, a knee injury brought the Arsenal manager’s playing career to a premature end in 2004/05 and he retired from the game aged 32.

Emery has managed some big sides in Europe including Valencia, Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain
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8. Ralph Hasenhuttl (Southampton)

Saints boss Hasenhuttl spent most of his playing career in his homeland of Austria and enjoyed a good amount of success there.

He won the Austrian Bundesliga four times and Austrian Cup twice, before having a spell with German side FC Cologne which didn’t really work out.

7. Javi Gracia (Watford)

After breaking into LaLiga by helping UE Lleida achieve promotion in 1993, Gracia established himself as a top flight player.

He went down a division by signing for Villarreal in 1999 but was part of their side which got promoted before going back down four years later with Cordoba where he saw out the final year of his playing days.

Gracia is Watford’s longest ever serving manager in the Premier League, having been appointed in January 2018
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6. Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham)

Die hard England fans will know Pochettino as the player who gave away a penalty during England’s victory over Argentina at the 2002 World Cup, even if Michael Owen did go down a bit too easily.

The Argentine played at a good level though, representing Espanyol for ten years over two spells and played for French giants Paris Saint-Germain for two years.

Pochettino’s most notable achievements as a player include two Copa del Rey titles.

He can also count Ronaldinho as a former teammate, while he shared a room with Diego Maradona on international duty with Argentina.

5. Nuno Espirito Santo (Wolves)

The Wolves boss won a bucket load of trophies in Portugal, particularly during his days at Porto.

Nuno won a surprising amount of trophies as a player
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Nuno won the Primeira Liga five times, the UEFA Cup and a Champions League title under a certain Jose Mourinho.

However, it should be noted that Nuno was the second choice goalkeeper throughout his glory days at Porto.

4. Pep Guardiola (Manchester City)

All this man knows is success. Guardiola has won trophies as a player and a manager.

The Manchester City boss is best known as a player for Barcelona where he won LaLiga five times, the Copa del Rey twice and was also in the team which helped them win the European Cup in 1992 – the Blaugrana’s first title in Europe’s premier club competition.

He also had some success at international level, helping Spain to Olympic gold at the 1992 games in Barcelona.

3. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Manchester United)

If Solskjaer can have similar success as Manchester United manager as he did as a player then fans will be happy.

Solskjaer’s best moment as a player saw him score the winner in the 1999 Champions League final
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The Norwegian won six Premier Leagues, two FA Cups and a Champions League title in 1999, scoring the winning goal in the dramatic 2-1 triumph over Bayern Munich.

Solskjaer was something of a fringe player at Old Trafford at times but that was only due to the huge talent the United squad had when he was there.

2. Steve Bruce (Newcastle United)

His managerial career has had plenty of setbacks but there’s no doubting Bruce enjoyed a great playing career.

Bruce is best known for his days at Manchester United where he won three Premier League titles, three FA Cups and a European Cup Winners’ Cup.

Amazingly though, he never made a senior appearance for England’s national team despite captaining the Red Devils.

Steve Bruce (left) helped United win their first league title in 27 years
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1. Frank Lampard (Chelsea)

But at the top has to be new Chelsea boss Lampard, who is arguably the club’s greatest ever player.

Super Lamps, as he’s affectionately known, won everything on offer for club players including the Premier League, FA Cup, Europa League and Champions League.

He also finished second to Ronaldinho in the Ballon d’Or awards in 2005.

Lampard is Chelsea’s all-time leading goalscorer
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Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action.

We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – delivering award-winning coverage to more GameDay listeners than ever.

Southampton vs Manchester United: Team news and predicted line ups with Mason Greenwood set to start

30 Aug

Southampton host Manchester United at St Mary’s on Saturday afternoon in a fixture which promises entertainment.

The game will be live on talkSPORT as the first of three exclusively live fixtures on Saturday as we bring you yet another GameDay.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping United can bounce back after defeat to Crystal Palace
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United rescued a point in the same fixture last season, with the Saints going 2-0 up before collapsing.

It proved to be Mark Hughes’ last game in charge, with former Red Devils manager Jose Mourinho also getting the sack shortly after.

Ralph Hasenhuttl and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will now pit their wits against one another after pikcing up contrasting results last week.

The Saints picked up their first win of the season by beating 10-man Brighton, while Man United were beaten in a shock upset at Old Trafford as Crystal Palace picked up a 2-1 win.

Manchester United had an afternoon to forget against Crystal Palace
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Team News

Southampton

Hasenhuttl may find it difficult to build on the impressive win at the Amex last weekend after his squad picked up a number of injuries.

Nathan Redmond is set to miss at least two weeks after injuring his ankle during the Carabao Cup win over Fulham in midweek.

Captain Ryan Bertrand has returned to training but is not fit enough to start, while Michael Obefemi is also likely to miss the visit of the Red Devils because of cramp.

Nathan Redmond picked up an injury in the Carabao Cup in midweek
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Manchester United

Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw are missing for the visitors, meaning the left hand side of the team will need restructuring.

Shaw picked up a hamstring injury, while Martial was also injured during the Palace defeat and picked up a thigh problem.

Mason Greenwood could well start on the flanks with Daniel James, but defensive trio Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Diogo Dalot and Eric Bailly remain out.

Teenage sensation Mason Greenwood could be called upon by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
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LIVE on talkSPORT

Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • Cardiff vs Fulham (Friday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Southampton vs Manchester United (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Bristol City vs Middlesbrough (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Chelsea vs Sheffield United (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Burnley vs Liverpool (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT

Predicted Teams

Here’s how the two sides could line up on Saturday afternoon
buildlineup.com

Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action.

We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – delivering award-winning coverage to more GameDay listeners than ever.

Mario Lemina: Stats suggest Southampton ace is perfect Paul Pogba replacement and Manchester United must beat Arsenal to £15million transfer

9 Jul

The transfer saga surrounding Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has taken a new turn in the past 48 hours.

Reports suggest wantaway Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina is a transfer target for the Red Devils, the clearest indication yet Pogba is on his way out of Old Trafford.

Mario Lemina could be heading to Old Trafford to replace Paul Pogba
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Linked with both Real Madrid and Juventus, the fact the France international has travelled to Australia for pre-season apparently means very little.

According to talkSPORT sources, United have made contact with Saints over a possible summer move for Lemina, who is keen to leave St Mary’s. Arsenal are also keen, but face the difficulty of digging too far into their limited transfer budget.

The rumours are unlikely to gain widespread acclaim amongst United fans, with Lemina failing to consistently deliver performances befitting his £18million price tag.

But the 25-year-old midfielder impressed during his time in both Serie A and Ligue 1 and still has the potential to improve his game.

WATCH: POGBA ‘CLASHES’ WITH JESSE LINGARD ON PRE-SEASON TOUR

So how does Lemina compare to Paul Pogba, the £89m man set for an Old Trafford exit?
And how would the Southampton man fit into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s new look side ahead of the upcoming season?

Below, talkSPORT.com has taken a closer look at the statistics of both stars as the summer transfer window deadline slowly creeps ever closer.

Courtesy of stats provided by WhoScored.com, we can see just how compatible Lemina would be for Manchester United ahead of Pogba’s reported exit.

Style of play

Lemina has the strength and technical ability to receive the ball under pressure
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For those who don’t know, Lemina is a powerful and technically-gifted midfielder. Reminiscent of former Tottenham star Mousa Dembele, the Gabon international is comfortable receiving the ball in tight situations.

Standing at just over 6ft, Lemina weighs in at 13st 2lbs and uses his stocky frame to his advantage. When put under pressure, the midfielder squats deep and uses his weight to shield the ball from his opponents.

A box-to-box midfielder by trade, the Gabonese also featured at centre-back under the tutelage of Marcelo Bielsa at Marseille. His strength on and off the ball, coupled with his excellent distribution made him perfect for the role.

But while Lemina performed well in defence, utilising his power and composure in midfield is where United would get the best out of the 25-year-old.

Offensive stats

The France international was United’s talisman last year, stats suggest Lemina would struggle to take over that mantle

Despite his public and private squabbles, Pogba was undoubtedly United’s talisman last season.

With 13 goals and nine assists in the Premier League, the France international was a huge attacking threat. Conversely, Lemina scored one goal, also managing just one assist in a team which had to fight off the threat of relegation.

Pogba also enjoyed a particularly fruitful season with the ball, averaging 1.6 key passes per game and 3 shots as well. As we can see, Lemina’s stats are drastically lower.

But before United fans dismiss this out of hand, it is important to consider the reasons. The Southampton man plays far deeper than Paul Pogba, taking fewer risks as his lower dribbles per game stat suggests.

Mino Raiola EXCLUSIVE: Paul Pogba has been ‘respectful and professional’

Defensive stats

As the stats show, Lemina is a more natural holding midfielder than Pogba

If Pogba is the more natural attacker of the two, then Lemina’s defensive contributions deserve equal amounts of respect.

Despite playing fewer games, the former Marseille man averaged more interceptions, more tackles and more clearances per game than the man he could be replacing.

Aggressive and mobile in equal measure; Lemina gets around the pitch and stops his opposite number from playing.

One worrying stat is perhaps the number of times he gets dribble past per game, although it is only slightly higher than Pogba’s, but this is just down to the increased amounts of defensive situations he finds himself in.

The 25-year-old has shown glimpses of indiscipline too, once punching Ola Toivonen in the groin during a Ligue 1 game.

Passing stats

Pogba’s distribution is a key strength, but Manchester United had more ball possession on average than Southampton

As we mentioned previously, the slight positional difference between the two players must be taken into account when comparing their stats.

Because Pogba plays further forward than Lemina, he is more likely to take risks and try to be more creative. Which explains why his pass success rate is lower than the Southampton forward.

And it is important to remember the difference in stature between the two sides. Manchester United played 19,202 passes last season in comparison to Southampton’s 14,297, meaning Pogba is going to get more of the ball and therefore have opportunities to play more passes.

The number of long balls per game is interesting with Pogba preferring to spray passes around and utilise his range in comparison to Lemina.

Given his natural defensive attitude, it is clear to see the 25-year-old likes to win the ball back for his side and play it simply.

How Lemina could fit in

 

Should United get Bruno Fernandes, Lemina could fill in alongside Solskjaer favourite Scott McTominay
buildlineup.com

Given Lemina is more comfortable in defensive transitions and without the ball than Pogba, it would be wise for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to deploy the midfielder in a deeper role.

With £50m signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw bombing down the flanks on overlapping runs, the aforementioned versatility and physical attributes for the Gabon international will be crucial in providing cover.

United are still tracking Bruno Fernandes, the Sporting Lisbon captain who scored 31 goals in all competitions from central midfield. If deployed directly behind a central striker, Fernandes can effectively play as a No.10 or even as a second striker, secure in the knowledge Lemina has the discipline to stay back.

Scott McTominay made a real impression on Solskjaer towards the end of last season, with the Scotland international almost certain to get game time with Ander Herrera also departing.

Verdict

Lemina drives Southampton forward from deep
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In conclusion, Manchester United fans are unlikely to roll out the red carpet for the signing of Mario Lemina.

In fact, it would be incorrect to suggest the midfielder is close to a Paul Pogba replacement.

But the crucial thing is, the 25-year-old suits Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer far better than Pogba. Selfless, disciplined and willing to sacrifice his own game to allow others to flourish, the Southampton star can offer more than just goals and assists for United.

And at £15m, with a wealth of experience of three of the major five European leagues, the Red Devils should surely be having a punt.

Southampton make fun of Liverpool signing their best players in Che Adams transfer announcement

2 Jul

Southampton have used the signing of Che Adams to have a cheeky dig at Liverpool’s tendency to buy their best players.

Adams joined Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side for £15million from Birmingham, where he scored 38 times in 123 matches.

The Ralph Express sees the Southampton manager with his players en route to collect Che Adams from Birmingham
Instagram @southamptonfc
Klopp is seen following the train in a spy plane, complete with binoculars
Instagram @southamptonfc
Adams is now a Southampton player, but will we see him with a Liver bird on his chest in a few seasons?
Instagram @southamptonfc

And in a video to unveil the 22-year-old, Jurgen Klopp is seen following a train called ‘The Ralph Express’ in an aeroplane with binoculars, as Southampton collect their new addition.

Since 2004, eight players, including Dejan Lovren, Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk have all swapped St Mary’s for Anfield, with the Champions League winners spending a massive £173m.

 

Van Dijk was the most recent player to move and Southampton managed to get £75m – record for a defender – for the centre-back.

Adams is Southampton’s second summer addition, after they signed Moussa Djenepo for £14million from Standard Liege.

Van Dijk left Southampton in 2018 in a £75m deal and has become one of the best in the world
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“I was watching them play when I was at Birmingham and I liked what Ralph did so I couldn’t say no,” Adams said.

“You can see with the track history… the gaffer’s belief in the young players, I want to be part of it.

“There was interest in January but it didn’t quite go through but I’m happy now it has.”


AMAZING SOUTHAMPTON TEAM IF CLUBS DIDN’T SIGN THEIR BEST PLAYERS


 

How Southampton could line up next season with Birmingham’s Che Adams, Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy and Bristol City’s Adam Webster

29 Jun

Southampton fans should be upbeat ahead of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s first full season in charge.

The Austrian replaced Mark Hughes with Saints in the relegation zone in December.

Ralph Hasenhuttl has endeared himself to Southampton fans
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And he was able to guide Southampton to safety with an upturn in results which included impressive wins over Arsenal, Tottenham and Everton.

Regularly switching between a back three and a back four, Hasenhuttl’s style of football has impressed the St Mary’s faithful.

Southampton are set for a summer clear-out, however, with Fraser Forster, Wesley Hoedt, Cedric Soares, Sofiane Boufal and Guido Carrillo reportedly heading for the exit door.

Selling those five players would free up funds and allow Hasenhuttl to bring in his own players.

Southampton are trying to sign Birmingham talisman Che Adams
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The club have already signed Moussa Djenepo for £14million from Standard Liege.

The 21-year-old winger, who put pen-to-paper on a four-year deal last month, could have to bide his time before regularly starting Premier League games.

Southampton have also been linked with Birmingham star Che Adams, Huddersfield midfielder Aaron Mooy and Bristol City’s in-demand defender Adam Webster.

Aaron Mooy could not prevent Huddersfield from dropping back down to the Championship last season
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Adam Webster is also being chased by Premier League new boys Aston Villa
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Those three players would be stellar additions to Hasenhuttl’s side.

So, how could Southampton line up next season?


4-4-2

Southampton striker Danny Ings will be looking to kick on after an encouraging debut season on the south coast.

The 26-year-old scored seven Premier League goals in a campaign which was disrupted by muscle injuries.

Having a strike partner in Adams, who could cost up to £14million, would add even more pace to Southampton’s frontline.

Hasenhuttl has used a flat and a diamond 4-4-2 formation at times and deployed Nathan Redmond as a makeshift striker.

Adams’ potential arrival would allow Redmond to return to his natural position on the left wing, with James Ward-Prowse, whose game hugely improved under Hasenhuttl, on the opposite flank.

Mooy could battle Southampton midfielders Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Mario Lemina and Oriol Romeu, for the two starting places in the middle of the park.

Young right-back Yan Valery enjoyed a breakthrough season last term, while Ryan Bertrand is a consistent performer at left-back.

In the heart of defence, Webster could partner Jan Bednarek, another player who benefited from Hasenhuttl’s arrival, with Angus Gunn in goal.

How Southampton could line up in a 4-4-2 formation

3-4-3

As previously mentioned, Hasenhuttl seemed to favour a back-three formation.

It gave Valery and Bertrand more attacking freedom in the wide areas.

If Ings’ injury problems persist, Adams, who netted 22 times last season, could lead the line with Ward-Prowse and Redmond close in support.

Jack Stephens or Jannik Vestergaard could join Webster and Bednarek in defence.

How Southampton could line up in a 3-4-3 formation

Battle to ‘avoid’ Champions League heats up, Cardiff City on the brink – What we learnt from this weekend’s Premier League action

28 Apr

It’s crunch time in the Premier League as a thrilling season enters its final weeks.

This weekend raised a number of talking points. On Friday night Liverpool brushed aside relegated Huddersfield but Manchester City responded with a workmanlike win at Burnley.

Liverpool went top on Friday night
But Manchester City did the business at Burnley

In the battle for the top four, Tottenham suffered their first defeat at their new stadium at the hands of West Ham, while Arsenal lost at Leicester.

But Manchester United and Chelsea were unable to take full advantage of their rivals’ errors as they played out a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.

United and Chelsea shared the spoils

Wolves got revenge for their FA Cup semi-final defeat against Watford with a win at Vicarage Road, while Crystal Palace and Everton played out a goalless draw at Selhurst Park.

At the bottom end of the league, Cardiff suffered a potentially season defining defeat at Fulham, as fellow relegation strugglers Southampton and Brighton earned a point each against Bournemouth and Newcastle respectively.

But what were the key things we learned? talkSPORT.com gives its verdict below.

Champions League qualification up for grabs

Perhaps the most surprising theme of recent weeks has been the simultaneous collapses of the clubs battling for Champions League qualification.

Tottenham, considered title challengers until very recently, lost at home to West Ham meaning they have lost six of their last ten in the league.

Michail Antonio of West Ham United celebrates after scoring the winner against Tottenham
But Arsenal lost their third game in seven days with a bad defeat at Leicester

Their poor form would have had even more serious repercussions had it not been matched by their rivals though.

Arsenal have lost four of their last five, and Manchester United four of their last seven and failed to beat Chelsea at Old Trafford in a game that could end the Red Devils’ top four hopes.

Liverpool still performing, but City passing the tests

Earlier in the season Liverpool’s mentality was questioned when a series of draws cost them their lead in the Premier League title race.

However, in recent months they appear to have overcome those anxieties, emerging victorious from a number of crucial fixtures against the likes of Tottenham and Chelsea.

Liverpool were full of confidence during their victory over Huddersfield on Friday, although the Terriers are already down.

Salah and Mane’s goals against Huddersfield put them first (21) and second (20) in the race for the Premier League golden boot

But the sight of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah scoring two each, and topping the goal scoring charts in the process, shows Liverpool are hitting their peak at the right time.

They have won ten in a row in all competitions, but City have won their last twelve league matches after getting past Burnley on Sunday.

Sergio Aguero’s strike was enough to restore City’s place at the top – the goal being given after referee Paul Tierney referrred to goal-line technology because Matt Lowton looked like he had cleared the ball off the line.

But Lowton’s heroic efforts were in vain, as replays showed the ball crossed the line by 29mm! That’s just how close the title race is!

City showed their nerve once again

Relegation all but decided

Cardiff’s defeat against Fulham at Craven Cottage all but concluded the fight for survival in the Premier League.

Southampton, Brighton and Cardiff were the teams who could still go down at the beginning of the weekend but Saints’ point against Bournemouth guaranteed their safety, whilst Brighton’s draw with Newcastle lifted them four points above Neil Warnock’s men with two games remaining.

It looks like Brighton will be staying up despite their dreadful form in the second half of the season

The Bluebirds must win both of their remaining fixtures (given their significantly inferior goal difference to Brighton) and hope Brighton lose both of theirs in order to reach safety.

Stranger things have happened, but it seems like a tall order.

Cardiff’s defeat at Fulham means that the Bluebirds will probably be playing Championship football next season

Southampton revitalised under Hasenhuttl

When Ralph Hasenhuttl replaced Mark Hughes in December 2018, Southampton were languishing at 18th in the league with only nine points from 15 games.

However, they have claimed 29 points from the 21 league matches since the Austrian took over and are now staying up with two games to spare.

The man referred to as ‘the Klopp of the Alps’ has done a good job of improving the form of certain players.

Shane Long has put his well-documented goal scoring droughts behind him, scoring twice this week and James Warde-Prowse’s excellent form earned the midfielder an England call-up earlier this season.

Southampton are a club in safe hands.

Ralph Hasenhuttl has turned things around at Southampton since his arrival in December

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is a ‘poor man’s Jurgen Klopp’, says Ian Holloway

13 Apr

Ian Holloway has labelled Ralph Hasenhuttl as a ‘poor man’s Jurgen Klopp’ but insists this is not meant as disrespectful to the Southampton boss.

Former RB Leipzig boss Hasenhuttl arrived at St Mary’s in December, replacing Mark Hughes.

Hasenhuttl is steering Southampton away from relegation

Southampton were in the relegation zone when Hasenhuttl arrived but he has improved the club’s fortunes.

Saints are just one place above the drop but have a five-point cushion on 18th-placed Cardiff going into their match at home to Wolves on Saturday, a game you can listen to live on talkSPORT now.

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Austrian Hasenhuttl came to the Premier League with the nickname the ‘Alpine Klopp’ due to the similar styles of football their teams play and the similar physical appearance of the two men but Hasenhuttl is keen to play down these comparisons.


Saints player compares Hasenhuttl with Mauricio Pochettino


But Holloway believes there are similarities that can be drawn between the Saints and Liverpool boss.

Hasenhuttl doesn’t like being compared to Klopp

The former Blackpool and Crystal Palace manager went on to suggest that Hasenhuttl is not quite as good as Klopp but was quick to praise the 51-year-old’s work on the south coast.

Holloway told talkSPORT: “The difference he’s made to [Nathan] Redmond up front has been phenomenal. They [Southampton] have been competing in every single game than they were [before Hasenhuttl arrived].

“And that’s basically down to the manager who seems like a poor man’s Klopp if I can say that.

“That’s no disrespect, you know, he’s got the same sort of attributes as Jurgen Klopp I believe by the look of him and the longer he gets with that group of players the better they’re going to get.”

Klopp and Hasenhuttl actually faced each other on Friday April 5th when Liverpool travelled to Southampton in the Premier League – the German came out on top with the Reds claiming a vital 3-1 win in their push for a first league title in 29 years.

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl blocks Wi-Fi to prevent players from excessive gaming

28 Mar

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl blocks the Wi-Fi during away trips to prevent his players from getting addicted to video games.

The Austrian was speaking after an anonymous English Football League player revealed lengthy gaming sessions were threatening to ruin his career.

Ralph Hasenhuttl believes gaming can become a dangerous addiction

And Hasenthuttl compared the habit of spending excessive amounts of time playing video games to alcoholism and drug addiction.

“I think it’s something you have to force actively against and I will do this,” Hasenhuttl said at his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s Premier League trip to Brighton.

“I did it in my last club, we had also problems with players, they were playing until three o’clock in the morning before a game.

“You have to be active and to help protect them because it’s not a small problem because if you are honest it’s the same as alcoholism or getting addicted to drugs.

“It’s something you get addicted to and that means we have to protect the players. To protect them means helping them not to spend so much time there.

“(At Leipzig) we block the Wi-Fi in the hotel, for example, in the evening so they can’t play any more.”

Hasenhuttle blocked the Wi-Fi at previous club RB Leipzig

Hasenhuttl feels it would be easier to tackle video-game addiction if it were regarded as an illness by the government.

He does not believe any of his Saints squad currently have serious problems with gaming.

“In my own squad, at the moment no,” he said.

“But you can be sure that I’m always in contact with my captain or with a few players to speak about them.”

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He continued: “As long as it’s not officially for the government an illness, then we have to protect them in our way.

“If it would be an illness then it would be easy for the government to say the companies have to give a block after three hours, for example, that they cannot play this game any more.

“I will be active always in this direction because I have to protect them and also outside the pitch and that means for 24 hours I have to look at them and that’s what I will do.”

James Ward-Prowse believes Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is similar to Mauricio Pochettino

2 Feb

Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse claims there are similarities between manager Ralph Hasenhuttl and former Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino.

Hasenhuttl took over at St Mary’s in December with the club in the relegation zone.

Hasenhuttl has helped Saints open up a four/seven-point gap away from the drop

But they now have breathing space on the bottom three with the Austrian guiding them to four wins in nine Premier League matches.

Ward-Prowse has been in excellent form since Hasenhuttl took over, most recently scoring an equalising goal to earn his team a point against Crystal Palace on Wednesday night.

And the 24-year-old, who’s been with Southampton since the age of eight, believes Hasenhuttl’s way of playing football to now Tottenham manager Pochettino, who has been linked with the Manchester United and Real Madrid jobs since joining Spurs in May 2014.

Ward-Prowse was a Southampton player when Pochettino was at the club

Speaking to The Times ahead of the 1-1 draw with Burnley, Ward-Proswse said: “For a few of us who were here [under Pochettino] you can see the similarities.

“The main one is how they play without the ball. They want to press high, they want to dominate the game. You can tell already they have [the same] passion and love for what they do. They make you feel happy as a player.”

Although he is now a regular starter for Saints, Ward-Prowse had to work his way up after not even being included in the squad for their 2-1 win at Huddersfield, Hasenhuttl’s second game in charge.

Ward-Prowse added: “I sat there watching the game at Huddersfield thinking a lot of things. I was doubting my future and whether the new manager would take to me or not. It certainly didn’t feel like he would.”

“That communication between manager and player has not been there very often in the last few years,”

“He [Hasenhuttl] gave me a clear outline of what is needed.”

Ward-Proswe has worked his way up to be a key player for Southampton under Hasenhuttl

“I admit I’m not the most physical player. But I’ve listened to the manager and I want to play in his team. I don’t think it’s more time in the gym; it’s a mentality thing. We didn’t approach games aggressively enough at the start of the season.

“It’s certainly been different to the last manager. Physically, we’re doing a lot more. He has done well to get his messages across, by what he calls mind-training in the auditorium. We watch clips and see how we can learn.”

“When a manager is so inspiring, and when he demands so much, you want to do it for him.”

Who is Ralph Hasenhuttl? The new Southampton manager has same coaching philosophy as Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp

6 Dec

It’s the most wonderful time of year, except if you’re a Southampton fan.

Saints fans have had a pretty dismal few months, which has culminated in Mark Hughes losing his job as manager and them in the Premier League’s relegation zone.

Hasenhuttl is the new Southampton manager and is keen to make the St Mary’s atmosphere electric

However, there is a new man in charge and Ralph Hasenhuttl’s appointment should give supporters reason to cheer during the Christmas period.

Twice he has taken over during a season and led teams to safety: first at Aalen in the German third division in January 2011, and then with Ingolstadt, who were bottom of the Bundesliga 2 when he was appointed in October 2013.

Southampton say his principals on how football should be played are ones likely to strike a chord with fans.

After all, you don’t get a nickname like the “Klopp of the Alps” for nothing, do you?

The Austrian formed a close bond with Liverpool’s manager when the pair were on the same coaching course.

“We [Klopp and I] did our coaching badges together and we know each other very well,” Hasenhuttl told bundesliga.com in May.

“I think we appreciate a similar philosophy on football – we want to play a high tempo game, we want our guys to sprint around, press well and these are elements which make the game livelier and varied and get people excited.”

Hasenhuttl coaching career

2007-2010: SpVgg Unterhaching

2011-2013: VfR Aalen

2013-2016: Ingolstadt

2016-2018: RB Leipzig

As a player, his biggest clubs were Austria Wien and Salzburg, while the striker also played eight times for Austria.

It’s as a coach, though, where he has had the biggest impact and Hasenhuttl’s career began in the third tier of German football in 2007 with SpVgg Unterhaching, but gained attention for his time at RB Leipzig.

The 2016/17 season, his first season in charge, saw the newly-promoted side finish second in the Bundesliga, a place in the Champions League and eventually the Europa League quarter-finals.

Along the way, they memorably knocked Maurizio Sarri’s high flying Napoli out.

“I think no matter where I’ve worked, in Aalen or Ingolstadt or [Leipzig], the stadiums have always been full as a result of how we played,” he once explained.

“It’s successful, attractive and represents a particular way of life and that’s down to our philosophy. There’s a saying: ‘either you give the people what they want to see or one of you looks for a new stadium’. I agree with that 100 per cent.”

Hasenhuttl is known to get quite animated on the touchline

He even admitted he is as animated as the Liverpool manager. “I don’t know, at times I run a bit too far onto the pitch,” he added.

“But that’s only in exceptional circumstances, and Jurgen does it too when a goal is scored!”

Klopp’s over-exuberant celebration against Everton landed him with an £8,000 fine, but Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger probably won’t mind, though, considering it’s likely to mean progress.