Ralph Hasenhuttl has revealed how Sir Alex Ferguson reached out to him following Southampton‘s humiliating 9-0 defeat at home by Leicester.
The Saints boss watched from the sidelines as his team imploded on a raining Friday evening last October, that saw Ayoze Perez bag a hat-trick while Jamie Vardy grabbed four of his own in the rout at St Mary’s.
Now, Hassenhuttl, who was talking on Sky Sports’ The Football Show, was asked what impact the demoralising defeat can have on a person mentally – which left the Austrian fearing for his job.
Ralph Hasenhuttl has spoken out on Southampton’s humiliating 9-0 defeat by Leicester
The Austrian revealed how Sir Alex Ferguson sent him a text in a show of support after the loss
However, it was a pep talk from Manchester United’s legendary former boss that gave him the boost in very much needed in that moment.
‘We have important moments in front of the camera because the message we bring is impactful for many people,’ he said, speaking via a videolink from his home.
‘I always remember I received an SMS from Alex Ferguson, I never knew him before, and if we had not lost 9-0 I would not have had contact from him.
Jamie Vardy (centre) scored four goals on the rainy evening at St Mary’s last October
Hasenhuttl described his Southampton side as a ‘disaster’ and ‘hopeless’ when looking back
Hasenhuttl was on the brink of being sacked as the scoreboard shows the humiliating score
‘So this is a positive. It lifted me in this moment. You are down and you find something to hold onto. I will have to live with this moment forever. It can help you to become a more experienced manager anyway.’
While many other managers have been sacked for a lot less, Southampton decided to stick with the former RB Leipzig coach – a gamble which has paid off after Hasenhuttl was able to steady the ship and record impressive victories against the likes of Tottenham, Chelsea and the Foxes themselves.
‘At first I must always say thank you to the club for supporting me in that moment,’ he added.
‘I said to him, “If I was in your case, I would sack me”. We were hopeless. We were a disaster. [The club] said he knew how much I invest and how much I do for this club and he was 100 per cent sure we would find a way back to success.
The 52-year-old admitted that he would have sacked himself if he was in charge of the club
‘We lost our direction a bit, especially me, it was the first time in my management career that I was not successful. For me it was a very important period and i learned a lot. It was a really difficult situation in the moment.’
The 9-0 defeat saw Southampton slip into the relegation zone after only recording eight points from 10 games.
However, before the coronavirus brought the current campaign to a half, the Saints are now up to 14th – seven points clear of Bournemouth in the relegation places.