If you go to the Saints club shop in the future, you might be in a for a bit of a surprise. Ryan Bertrand could be hanging up shirts, Charlie Austin might be on the checkout or Oriol Romeu counting stock. It’s all because of Saints’ “demanding butler.”

That is how Ralph Hasenhuttl defines his role at the club, and his new rules behind the scenes are keeping players accountable.

“It’s normal if you live together every day, and we have spent a lot of time here in this building, it is easier to be clean in the dressing room and it’s clear what happens if someone is not in that way of how we want him to be,” said the 51-year-old Austrian.

“I only make this group stronger because if they break the rules they have to fine. Not me.

“They are the group, they are in the dressing room and looking and they decide what fine is for what player if he does this or this.

“It’s not about a money fine. There are different fines.

“For example, working in the fan shop. Making training session for the youth, or something in this way.

“It’s about wasting time and that hurts maybe more if you have to spend time you normally have off than to put some money somewhere.

“The learning is not so good if you only pay money for it.

“You think about it.”

This is all part of the jigsaw for Hasenhuttl, a sense of collective responsibility off the pitch, that should then translate to a wonderful spirit on it.

“It’s one small puzzle of this whole puzzle we try to build up now,” he explained.

“If you have discipline in the group but don’t make any good results it’s not the same signal I think.

“A good signal is if you see hard working on the pitch and discipline off the pitch creates a good result at the weekend in the Premier League and both you need as a new trainer.

“The first games are the most important ones because you put stuff in and if you go in the right direction and you get more chance to win a game then they are following you much more if you wait three or four or five weeks for a win.

“With our fixtures over Christmas it could have been that we don’t take a point until after the Chelsea game. That was also possible.

“It was a very tough schedule we had and no one thought we could win against Arsenal in the second game at home and the first game I don’t count really because we had one day here and it was Cardiff so no chance to put something in the minds. We played a different system and normally we couldn’t win.

“After the Cardiff game was the first week we could work together and from that day on I count what we did until now.

“Until now our development was going in the same direction, slight upwards. Not too big steps but every week getting a bit more and a bit more.”

Certainly, those steps have felt meaningful for Saints fans.

Hasenhuttl’s whirlwind impact on the club has been remarkable.

From the moment he strode into St Mary’s he was a breath of fresh air. He was authoritative yet warm, honest yet positive.

With four wins in eight Premier League games since taking charge, he has hauled Saints towards safety.

His methods are modern and demanding. See, for example, the Staplewood training pitch.

On his first day at the club he asked the groundsman to paint a whole bunch of dashed horizontal and vertical lines across the pitch to aid his ability to teach the players where he wanted them to be.

He handed over a detailed drawing, including precise measurements, just before he was about to take his first training session. Of course, he was told it was no problem and would be ready as he requested when he arrived the next morning.

But Hasenhuttl wanted them there and then.

It’s that attention to detail, that demand to strive for the very best that can be achieved from the first second he arrived that has really set the scene for him and the team to thrive.

For Hasenhuttl, this style, this character, this honesty, is the most direct way to results.

“It’s just the way I am. I think the players like it. To be honest helps you a lot to not waste time. To be honest shows exactly the way it should be. It’s the way I help the players the most.

“If you are honest, and you tell them what is good and not good, it doesn’t matter if it is the captain or the last reserve player, I try to be honest to everyone.

“That’s also how I want to be to the supporters. They should feel how difficult it is to find the right decision.

“If I make a substitution or change the first XI because the FA Cup is coming, they have to know what I am thinking about, then maybe they understand it. If not, I was honest to them.

“I have to do every day 50 decisions and it is only me who can take these decisions.

“I don’t think it is possible to make 50 decisions every day right. Some decisions are not right. They are wrong maybe, but that’s normal because we are human and we make mistakes sometimes.

“I think we didn’t make so much mistakes until now but in the future I guarantee I will make mistakes.

“It’s normal. But I think in my whole life as a coach, the mistakes, this part I was learning the most. I learnt and it made me the manager I am today.

“I’ve been brave. I think the brave guys have their success.

“They are successful because they don’t do these decisions because they don’t want to hurt one.

“Sometimes they are not popular, but it is not my way to be popular. It is my way to be successful and sometimes you have to make decisions that are not so nice for people.”

Hasenhuttl has caused waves as the first Austrian to manage in the Premier League but describes himself as European.

After a playing career spent mainly in Germany as a decent but not outstanding striker, and failed attempts to crack England with trials at Bolton and Chelsea, he moved into management.

Much like Saints’ greatest ever manager, Lawrie McMenemy, Hasenhuttl sites working his way through the system to reach the top as a key part of his development.

“For 13 or 14 years I have been a coach now and it started with the first club when I was an assistant coach and suddenly comes the moment where you have to be the number one coach because your chief was not successful,” he explained.

“Then you start to learn and to find the way you want to go as a coach.

“What I know now and what I knew when I was starting is a massive development of my mind about training and working with the team.

“I think I am a completely different from the beginning of my career, but in these 12 or 13 years I was learning and I never stopped learning.

“This knowledge I have now is based on going through every step in my development.

“I started in the regional league in Germany and third league, second league, Bundesliga, Champions League and now Premier League.

“For me it’s one step after the other and normally as a coach you never know what will happen in the future. If you are successful you can suddenly make a big step, but I am very glad that I could make these small steps forward.

“It helps me a lot to think about what I am doing, think about my tactical qualities.

“It’s nice the way I want to work with players with my mentality and my character it obviously shows it can be successful with this kind of character I have.

“I am not the guy who wants screams at the guys. I want to give them arguments, make them better, be respectful, open minded and have an ear for every player every day.

“It’s nice this kind of character helps me to be successful as a coach “I am very happy about making every step in my development.”

Hasenhuttl is settling into life at Saints. Ten days without a game has given him time to move from a hotel into his own apartment, though he has left the piano he plays for relaxation in Germany for now, preferring to unwind with the occasional run.

His sole focus now remains on the team rather than himself, which, rather neatly, fits perfectly into how he sees his role.

“I think the player is the most important person in a football club. Not the manager,” insisted Hasenhuttl.

“I am only part of this team, which is working to make them better every day. I am only one part of the whole club, the staff in the club every day, makes everything to make these players better.

“If we do, they will give us back because they win the game. That’s my position. Like a butler if you want. I do everything that the player is in the best situation – the best physically, mentally, tactically – that’s my job. If I did that, he gives us as a club the chance to win more games.”

When it’s put to him that he has been rather more demanding than the average member of household staff he smiles broadly.

“I’m a pushing butler,” he chuckles. “A demanding butler.

“It’s normal. I feel that they like it. I think the player likes to know that the training sessions make them better and bring them in the right direction.

“If we train two times a day for two weeks and then don’t feel it is going in the right direction they won’t follow you. I think they enjoy it. That’s what I feel.”