New Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl arrived for his first day in charge of the struggling Saints, keen to set to work and spark a turnaround in fortunes.
The 51-year-old Austrian, who replaced Mark Hughes after his sacking, was greeted by staff at the Staplewood training campus and also posed for pictures at his new HQ.
Hasenhuttl wore a grin as he held up a Southampton shirt for pictures ahead of his first training session with the squad.
Ralph Hasenhuttl (right) was greeted by staff on his first day at Southampton’s training ground
The former RB Leipzig boss seemed in an upbeat mood as he strolled in on Thursday
Hasenhuttl posed with a Southampton shirt as he familiarised himself with the surroundings
Having watched Saints suffer a 3-1 defeat by Tottenham at Wembley on Wednesday night, no doubt he will be keen to inprint his methods on the group.
The players would usually come back into work the morning after a game for a light recovery session but their new boss has rescheduled that for the afternoon, with the thinking being that the players will be fresh and therefore more receptive to his ideas.
And Hasenhuttl will not have long to convey his views and tactical approach as there will only be time for one more day of work on the pitch before they travel to the Welsh capital to take on Cardiff this Saturday.
Described by Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger as the ‘ideal candidate’, Hasenhuttl will know the importance of a positive result, particularly against a team only two points above them in the table.
The 51-year-old takes charge with Southampton in the Premier League’s relegation zone
Hasenhuttl comes in with impressive pedigree after a successful spell with RB Leipzig
The former Austria Vienna striker will take the reins from Kelvin Davis, who has been in temporary charge since Hughes’ dismissal.
Davis backed the ex RB Leipzig boss to hit the ground running and is impressed by what he’s seen: ‘We met at the hotel after lunch, he was very concise with his information, very honest and to the point with what he wanted and how he wants to work,’ Davis said.
‘Generally there is a good feel to him. He is very keen to come in and improve us as a group.
The new manager was able to familiarise himself with the new surroundings at Staplewood
‘He wants to join our football club, which is fantastic with the pedigree he has got, so we are looking forward to getting started.
‘He only addressed the coaching staff, he didn’t address the players.
‘It was quite simple, how he likes to play the game, how he likes his sessions to be planned, how he watches opposition and what he expects from standards and people around him. There was no grey area.’
WHO IS RALPH HASENHUTTL?
Who is Ralph Hasenhuttl?
As a floppy haired striker for Austria Vienna, the 51-year-old picked up several league titles in his homeland before becoming something of a Bundesliga journeyman in the second half of his playing career.
His coaching career only took off at his second attempt, as he led lowly VfR Aalen into the German second division before moving to Ingolstadt and hauling them into the top flight.
It was at RB Leipzig, though, that Hasenhuttl became a household name. Tasked with keeping the freshly promoted side in the Bundesliga, he led them to second place in his first season and secured Europa League football in his second.
The 51-year-old led Ingolstadt to the Bundesliga in 2015 after winning the Bundesliga 2
Why didn’t he stay at Leipzig if he was so successful?
Having enjoyed two seasons of Bundesliga success and a run to the Europa League quarter-finals under Hasenhuttl, the fans were still singing his name at the end of last season.
Yet tactics, transfer policy and long-winded contract negotiations had seen Hasenhuttl’s relationship to sporting director Ralf Rangnick rapidly deteriorate.
Come the summer, it was clear the two men could no longer work together, and Hasenhuttl had to go.
Hasenhuttl left RB Leipzig after a fallout with Ralf Rangnick – but the fans love him
What kind of coach is he?
Hasenhuttl has often been compared to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, and even earned the nickname ‘Klopp of the Alps’ while at Ingolstadt. Like Klopp, he wears his heart on his sleeve, and is not averse to the occasional display of touchline emotion.
He is also much more at home in a tracksuit than a shirt and tie. After he donned a suit for Leipzig’s Champions League debut last season, Hasenhuttl admitted that his players had laughed at him in the dressing room. Tactically, too, he is a man after Klopp’s own heart, setting his teams up to press energetically and seek a direct route to goal.
Yet Hasenhuttl is less of a showman than the Liverpool boss. A more reserved character in press conferences and more of a disciplinarian on the training pitch, Hasenhuttl is more likely to give critics an icy stare than a disarming joke.
Hasenhuttl has been compared to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp for his style of play
How do his teams play?
Underdogs Ingolstadt were something of a destructive force under Hasenhuttl, and they scrapped and snarled their way to unexpected survival in their first year in the Bundesliga. Yet Hasenhuttl naturally tends towards attacking football, and he was able to truly unleash those instincts at Leipzig.
Built around the tenacity and class of Naby Keita in midfield, his Leipzig side surprised the Bundesliga with exhilarating, pacy football in his first season.
Ferocious counter-pressing, excellent transitional play and the raw pace and deadly finishing of Timo Werner made Leipzig a match for any team on their day.
Southampton fans can be reassured Hasenhuttl knows how to battle against relegation
Will he hold his own in the Premier League?
In theory, the pace and openness of modern Premier League football should suit Hasenhuttl well.
His only problems at Leipzig came later in his tenure, as opposing teams started to set up defensively and he struggled to push through a more possession-based approach. When his team are the underdogs and there is space to counter-attack, he should flourish tactically.
Southampton fans, meanwhile, can draw hope from Hasenhuttl’s record. At both Aalen and Ingolstadt, the Austrian took over with the club in the relegation zone. At both clubs, it took him just 18 months to turn misery into magic and lead them to promotion.
Saints fans will hope he can cajole rather than console players come the season end