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southampton

High hopes after two years of struggle

General preview 2019/20

Fans believing again and looking ahead with optimism

Saints are hoping for better things to come in 2019/20 after two years of struggling against relegation.

Ralph Hasenhuttl helped to save Saints from the drop last season and has the fans believing again and looking ahead with optimism for the first time in a while.

While there are some that think a return to the not too distant past of battling for a European spot is a possibility in the upcoming campaign, the vast majority of supporters will happily settle for midtable progress without another nervy end to the season.

There have been major changes off the pitch as well, and so this is a new look for Saints all round and there is a desire to prove they can offer something different and something better than in recent times.

Pre-season news

A BIZARRE FRIENDLY SANDWICHED BY IMPRESSIVE RESULTS

SCR Altach 1-1 Southampton

Adams.

Preston 1-3 Southampton

Ings (x2), Vokins.

Guangzhou R&F 0-4 Southampton

Adams, Long, Valery, Klarer.

Feyenoord 1-3 Southampton

Adams, Yoshida, Boufal.

Southampton 2-0 Cologne

Ings, Hojbjerg.

transfer window

So far it has been a mixed bag

Much of the focus for Saints has been on trying to cull their huge first team squad, which is laden with deadwood on long and expensive contracts. That has been a real struggle.

On the plus side, they have recruited Hasenhuttl’s top two targets early in the window and there is much optimism around those signings.

Rating: 6/10

Rating: 8/10

Che Adams (£15m, Birmingham)

Hasenhuttl tried unsuccessfully to land Adams during the January window but wasn’t to be denied second time around. Finally gives Saints a big, powerful and pacy option up top to add to what they’ve got.

Rating: 7/10

Moussa Djenepo (£14m, Standard Liege)

Another player that fits the young, up and coming star of the future type profile Hasenhuttl has spoken of wanting to recruit. He adds pace in the wide areas but will have to prove he can do it at Premier League level.

Season predictions

SAINTS FANS ARE RIGHT TO FEEL CONFIDENT

Saints fans are justified in their belief that this will be a much better season.

Despite an unkind start to the fixture list which may well sap some of the momentum and optimism that has been bubbling since the end of the last campaign, over the course of the year midtable looks on the cards.

Hasenhuttl is a manager who has plenty of credit in the bank with supporters and will be backed to the hilt. That feeling of unity after a couple of years where the overwhelming feeling has been of disunity should not be underestimated.

It is not impossible to envisage Saints competing in the top half of the table, but to think European qualification could be on the cards feels a little overly optimistic.

Put simply, to right the wrongs of Saints’ largely disastrous last few years of transfer dealings is going to take a long time.

However, this should be a year where Saints are all but assured of safety a good month or so from the end of the season, and that will be a sign of progress.