The biggest challenge is yet to come for Hasenhuttl and Southampton

Manager of Southampton FC Ralph Hasenhuttl applauds the crowd after the Premier League match between Huddersfield Town and Southampton FC at John Smith's Stadium on December 22, 2018 in...

Ralph Hasenhuttl is off to a fine start but his real test still awaits him in the Premier League.

Manager of Southampton FC Ralph Hasenhuttl applauds the crowd after the Premier League match between Huddersfield Town and Southampton FC at John Smith's Stadium on December 22, 2018 in...

Southampton may regret the decision to hand Mark Hughes a contract at the end of last season, allowing him to see them through the summer transfer window.

Hughes had kept the Saints up last season but there was no major overhaul of playing style or results and things largely remained as they had under Mauricio Pellegrino.

A defence that was less than resolute and an attack that spurned chances left Southampton in desperate need of a plan that Hughes never looked likely to bring.

 

But Hughes is gone and Ralph Hasenhuttl has arrived, immediately inspiring the side to two energetic, convincing victories.

And there lies the challenge for Hasenhuttl over the second half of the season. He had to maintain this new energy and motivation.

The 'new manager bounce' can be a short-term influence over a side, especially with a character like Hasenhuttl, and getting the team to perform once the excitement dies down can sometimes prove a struggle.

Last season saw Carlos Carvahal arrive at Swansea City and initially look like a decent enough appointment. Soon, however, results began to split and the Swans never recovered, eventually succumbing to relegation.

Danny Ings of Southampton celebrates after scoring his team's first goal with Oriol Romeu of Southampton during the Premier League match between Huddersfield Town and Southampton FC at...

Now Hasenhuttl certainly has more about him right now than Carvahal did last year, including a superior squad, but a time when things aren't so rosy will happen.

That is when the Austrian will really earn his money; if he can maintain his effective, energetic playing style through that, Southampton will know they've got a very special coach on their hands.

Nathan Redmond of Southampton celebrates after scoring his team's first goal with his team mates during the Premier League match between Huddersfield Town and Southampton FC at John Smith'...

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