No containment plan to stop Grealish, insists Southampton boss Hasenhuttl

By Nick Purewal, PA

Southampton will not devise any special plans to nullify Aston Villa dangerman Jack Grealish at St Mary’s on Saturday.

Precocious playmaker Grealish has fired seven Premier League goals and laid on six more for Dean Smith’s Villa and will doubtless prove Saints’ biggest threat in the south coast clash.

Saints have already suffered eight league defeats on home soil this term and are bidding to turn those struggles around, but boss Ralph Hasenhuttl insisted there is no temptation to man-mark Villa’s star talent.

Asked if Southampton will concoct a specific containment plan for Grealish, Hasenhuttl said: “No, no. We never do this. We defend, as you know, ball-oriented.

“We’re more concentrated on where is the ball, not where is Jack Grealish. We never worry about any single player.

“Every Premier League team has one fantastic player. He’s a fantastic player and, like always, we have nearly in every Premier League game one fantastic player who can make the difference.

“We’ll try to defend together, as always, and pay attention on counter pressing. All these things the team is prepared for and we must show this.”

Southampton have climbed away from the relegation zone but boss Hasenhuttl is not yet satisfied with his side’s improvements.

The no-nonsense Austrian has challenged Saints to stand up and be counted on home turf, shaking off any nerves associated with playing in front of their own fans.

“We know about the history this season, we’ve lost a lot of games at home and far away from being as good as away,” said Hasenhuttl.

“We can discuss why, there are a few things that can help us. We can play more counter-attack away. That’s maybe a reason why. But I think that cannot be pressure for us.

“We are a Premier League team, we have Premier League players, we have to handle the moment where we maybe go one down and get a little nervous.

“Then we’re not patient enough. This is something we have to turn, have to work on. It’s not going away, nobody will help us.

“So we have to put things in our own hands and try to change it ourselves. We’ve made big steps forward with the ball in the last few weeks.”