RALPH Hasenhuttl has been reflecting on his first two months at Saints.

A turgid set of results by former boss Mark Hughes saw him sacked at the beginning of December, with the Austrian filling the Welshman’s position in the dugout.

Since then, Saints have collected 15 points and, tomorrow, will have the chance to extend the gap to five points above the relegation zone if they beat Cardiff.

When questioned about what’s impressed him most during this spell, Hasenhuttl said: “There have been a few new things for me in this league, absolutely.

“It was impressing that my team learnt very quick. We showed good moves in front but also another style of defending.

“We had very good games like against Everton at home, which I think was the best. The last at Burnley I didn’t like so much. It was not so good.

“It was not the style we want to defend, a little too deep but I think overall we showed that this team can play better than in the first months of the season and that gives us hope that we can do it.

“It’s a huge 15 points till now.

“It would be easy for us to be in the same position as Fulham at the moment. We’ve taken a lot of points but we’re still not out of trouble and that shows how tough this league is and how tough the teams are because they’re also consistently taking the points.

“That means that the last three months are going to be very, very interesting. We have to have our best performances until the end.”

It’s well known how studious Hasenhuttl is in his work around Staplewood.

The one-to-one meetings with his players, the lines on the training ground, the video analysis and the attention to detail he gives to the weekend’s opposition.

It’s details like these that have transformed Saints’ season.

However, even he has been taken shocked by the demands of the Premier League.

Hasenhuttl added: “It is a very physical league. The teams in our area have always very good one-against-one players.

“Against Crystal Palace, for example, it was very hard to defend. So you have to have the best performances every weekend or you don’t take the points in this league.

“It’s a very tough fight. There is a high intensity and a lot of speed.

“Sometimes you have to face opponents with a combative style and with big changes from one week to the next, so it’s sometimes very interesting to prepare a team for a new challenge.

“It’s very interesting for me as a manager and also for the team.”

And after studying Cardiff, Hasenhuttl is expecting another physical battle: “We know from the first game that they are physically very strong with a lot of good set pieces, long throw-ins. It will be a tough fight, but we want to show that we are better than in the first game.”