Ralph Hasenhuettl hired to manage Southampton

Southampton hired Ralph Hasenhuettl as its fourth permanent manager in 18 months on Wednesday. (Claude Paris/AP)

SOUTHAMPTON, England — Southampton hired Ralph Hasenhuettl as its fourth permanent manager in 18 months on Wednesday, tasked with developing the talent to revive the struggling Premier League club after impressing in Germany.

Mark Hughes was fired on Monday with Southampton third-to-last in the standings with only one win from 14 matches.

"The urgency to find a path back to our potential and to the results that we expect cannot be underestimated," Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger said. "For that reason, we are extremely pleased that Ralph Hasenhuettl has agreed to become our new manager and do all he can to help guide us back on that path."

The 51-year-old Hasenhuettl, who has been out of work since leaving Leipzig in May, signed a contract until the end of the 2021 season.

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"Ralph’s ability to teach the game and to develop talent is evident in his past and is a centre piece of why he is the perfect choice to be the new Saints manager," Krueger said.

Hasenhuettl achieved success coaching in Germany, leading Ingolstadt to Bundesliga promotion as second-division champion in 2015 and securing survival the following season.

The Austrian took over newly promoted Leipzig in 2016 and finished second in the club’s debut Bundesliga season, ensuring Champions League qualification.

Faced with the added burden of European soccer, Hasenhuettl led the club to sixth place and a spot in this season’s Europa League, but he left in May after failing to reach an agreement on a new deal.

Southampton, which has been in the Premier League since 2012, has had its squad slowly dismantled by the country’s richest clubs each off-season. Southampton has attempted to replace the players the club sold for big money with cheaper ones from across Europe and beyond, but it is a recruitment strategy that might have finally caught up with them.

"This manager change offers us a fresh start and, very quickly, Ralph emerged as our ideal candidate," Krueger said. "As a coach, he embodies the passion, structure, communication skill set, work ethic and appetite for growth that we strive for in our Southampton Way."

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