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‘It disturbs me’ – Hasenhuttl backs Maguire to bounce back from boos

Football365 logo Football365 31/03/2022 News Desk
Ralph Hasenhuttl speaks during an interview after a Premier League match © PA Images Ralph Hasenhuttl speaks during an interview after a Premier League match

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl cannot understand why some England fans booed Harry Maguire during this week’s 3-0 friendly win over Ivory Coast, but believes the defender will come back stronger.

National team boss Gareth Southgate called it “an absolute joke” after the Manchester United centre-back was targeted for abuse.

Hasenhuttl agreed, saying it was far from acceptable, but feels 29-year-old Maguire can shake off the criticism and pointed out that things can change very quickly.

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“At first it’s a pity when you win two games as an English manager to have to talk about such a question after the game,” said the Austrian.

“It’s sometimes something that disturbs me in football to be honest that you have to ask such questions after the game.

“For what reason somebody gets booed, I can never understand it. But this will happen.

“But he will not be the last one: he is not the first one who gets booed in some moments and this is far away from being OK, far away from acceptable.

“But it will happen in the future also and I’m sure the player will go through with the support from everybody and will come back stronger.

“They’re all professionals, everybody is under pressure, everybody needs to perform well.

“If you can be strong and convinced about your qualities then things can turn very quickly.”

Meanwhile, Hasenhuttl believes securing a top-half Premier League finish could be crucial to Southampton’s summer recruitment plans and his players’ international aspirations.

Eleventh-placed Saints return to action at Leeds on Saturday sitting just a point off ninth position but on the back of three successive top-flight defeats.

Hasenhuttl feels having three players – Fraser Forster, Kyle Walker-Peters and James Ward-Prowse – on England duty during the past fortnight epitomises the club’s progress this season.

Yet the Austrian is eager to ensure the recent dip in form does not become a prolonged slump as he bids to prevent a strong campaign fizzling out in the final nine fixtures.

Asked how he can stop that happening, the Saints boss replied: “In the way that we try to focus on these nine games that they are for us very crucial for our future because I think it makes a big difference if you end up in a top-10 position leading to our transfer window in the summer.

“In this position, I think it gives you more opportunities as a club and for the players also to put themselves in the window for international caps.”

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