London (AFP) – Ralph Hessenhotel admitted that Southampton’s “spectacular” rise to the top of the Premier League was “a bit scary” after they finished first for the first time since 1988 with a 2-0 win over Newcastle on Friday.
Goals by Che Adams and Stuart Armstrong for Southampton ensured he ended his day at the top of the Premier League table for the first time since Chris Nicole’s side 32 years ago.
It is Hasenhuttl in charge of the saints now and the Austrian is the mastermind of a wonderful revival on the south coast.
Just over a year after they were humiliated in a 9-0 defeat to Leicester at St Mary’s, Southampton switched under him.
Preserving their place at the top is likely a step too far, yet there is no reason why they should not dream of qualifying for Europe and even a sudden attempt to finish the top four.
“It’s amazing what my team is doing at this moment. Congratulations everyone. Our fans will love her and they’ll paint a picture for the table,” Hasenhuttl said.
“Everyone was on top level. To be honest, it’s a bit scary what we’re doing at the moment, but it’s not surprising when I see what we’re working on.”
Hasenhuttl recently claimed that he wanted his team of “pirates” to stay out of the spotlight, but their reckless form would make that impossible.
“I just told the guys that we have invested a lot in this time together. We have taken a lot of big steps forward. We are now a strong team,” Hasenhotel said.
“We must remain hungry and we must feel that everything is possible with this team.”
Everton, who have won five of their last six matches, will replace Southampton if they beat Manchester United on Saturday.
If Everton falter, then second-placed Liverpool, currently behind Southampton on goal difference, Leicester and Tottenham all have a chance to move into first place by Sunday night.
Southampton’s top scorer Danny Ings will be out of action for several weeks due to a knee injury sustained in the victory over Aston Villa last weekend.
But Adams appeared as a good goal in his own right and put Southampton ahead in the seventh minute.
The pressure of Theo Walcott was key as he pounced on Miguel Almiron’s ludicrous decision to attempt a dazzling turn under pressure in his own penalty area.
After seizing the ball from Almiron, Walcott sent a cross to Adams, who fired a superb shot past Karl Darlo to score his third goal in the last four matches.
Walcott was chasing hard and attacking with a goal, completely transforming from the unknown number he had at Everton before returning to Southampton earlier this season.
With Musa Genebo’s smart shot, Walcott nearly doubled Southampton’s lead just before halftime with a curler from the edge of the area flashing away.
Southampton maintained his constant pressure after the break, and Darlow inflicted Romeo’s Oriole explosion that extended 20 yards onto the bar.
Armstrong finished points in the 82nd minute when he stole possession from Shawn Longstaff and cleverly created space for a low shot from the edge of the area that gave Darlow no chance.
Burnley were left without a win this season after drawing 0-0 with Brighton.
Claret made his worst start in any season and did not win eight matches dating back to the last semester.
Shaun Daiichi team moved from the bottom of the table after the second point of seven matches.
“There were moments when we had a good foothold and defended really well,” said Daiichi.
“We are never a million miles away. We need to get to the right side of the margins. It has to happen quickly.”
Brighton have won only one of their eight league matches this season and are three points behind the relegation zone.