Southampton have sacked manager Ralph Hasenhuttl and opened talks with Luton boss Nathan Jones.
Hasenhuttl leaves the Saints following Sunday’s 4-1 defeat by Newcastle, which left them in the relegation zone after six defeats in nine League One games. Assistant coach Richard Kitzbichler also left the club.
The Austrian was the Premier League’s fourth longest-serving manager after taking charge at St Mary’s in December 2018. He is the fifth league boss to be sacked this season after Scott Parker, Thomas Tuchel, Bruno Lage and Steven Gerrard.
Championship club Luton confirmed on Monday that they had given Southampton permission to speak to Jones. The statement read: “We would like to confirm that the Premier League club approached the committee in the correct manner, for which we are grateful, and that the whole situation is extremely amicable with Southampton and Nathan.”
First-team coach Rubén Sellés will take over on a temporary basis for Southampton’s Carabao Cup clash against Sheffield Wednesday on Wednesday.
A Southampton statement said: “Hasenhuttl leaves after making a significant contribution to the club, overseeing some memorable results and also playing a key role in the development of our club infrastructure, identity and playing squad.
“However, we now believe the time is right for a change. Everyone involved at the club would like to express their sincere thanks to Ralph for all his efforts, as well as the unwavering commitment he has shown during his time as manager.”
During his time at the club, Southampton suffered two 9-0 defeats in the space of 16 months, as they lost at home to Leicester in October 2019 and were then beaten by the same scoreline at Manchester United in February 2021.
But Hasenhuttl managed to preserve Saints’ Premier League status by guiding them to 16th in his first season in charge, before finishing 11th in 2019/20, with 15th in the following two campaigns .
Hasenhuttl: We weren’t good enough
Hasenhuttl admitted after the Newcastle defeat that he doesn’t see a way out for Southampton from their current form, and when asked in the post-match press conference if this was his last game in charge, he said: “I’ve made a lot of decisions in my time here Fortunately, I don’t have to make that decision.
“I can’t say that there was no effort, but at the moment we are not receiving a reward for the effort on the field.
“I think being in the relegation zone is a reflection of what we’ve done so far. It wasn’t good enough.”
The Saints are running out of patience with Hasenhuttl
Sky Sports’ Dan Sansom:
“You have to accept that we will have 10-15 losses per season.”
Those were the words of Ralph Hasenhuttl when I spoke to him at Southampton training on Friday.
Two days later, a 4-1 defeat by Newcastle at St Mary’s saw him lose his job as manager.
Southampton found themselves in the relegation zone after 14 games. Sunday’s defeat was their eighth in the Premier League this season.
Hasenhuttl was used to the pressure during his time on the South Coast. Two 9-0 defeats and several poor runs of form since the Austrian’s appointment in December 2018 have resulted in his position being repeatedly called into question. But the 55-year-old always seemed to bounce back.
However, a run of six defeats in nine Premier League games after spending £83m this summer – mostly on youth players – has seen Southampton’s hierarchy lose patience.
“Southampton are a team fighting for their lives. If they don’t improve their aggression and willingness to take one on target, they are going down,” said former Saints boss Graeme Souness Sky Sports.
Southampton did not want to take that risk while Hasenhuttl was still in charge.