With three defeats on the spin for Southampton, we picked up a valuable point in last weekend’s clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux and this evening, we host Leicester City at St Mary’s Stadium looking for further joy.
With the Video Assistant Referee technology featuring heavily in our last match, with the hosts having two goals scrubbed off, in the buildup to tonight’s match, manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has revealed that he has deliberately changed our defensive tactics in an effort to maximise VAR working to our benefit.
Speaking to Sky Sports as he met with the media on Thursday to look ahead to the game, our Austrian gaffer explained.
“We had a big discussion this week about VAR. The way we want to defend at the moment is based on VAR. Especially in set-pieces, for example. Free kicks from the side, it’s very important you stay on the line. If he’s a few inches offside, then nobody can see this normally with eyes, but with VAR you can see exactly the moment when he kicks the ball. You need to be really brave, hold the line, and the chance for offside is a big one. I think we conceded a goal against Sheffield United from a free-kick from the side and it was offside. It’s still a crazy moment because you concede a goal and you are hoping. If it’s not a goal, it helps you mentally and it’s a disaster for the opponent. It can help you. There’s still a moment that’s not nice to wait for! I think it has done a fantastic job so far. It is fair and that’s what everyone has asked for and what everybody is demanding.”
Fans certainly seem torn on the use of the technology and it’s certainly caused a fair bit of controversy so far given the lack of consistency across games when it comes to the decisions being made, and the time taken to reach them, so there will certainly be those who disagree with the gaffer’s glowing endorsement – but if it keeps falling our way, we can’t complain too much.