Kitzbichler: Clean sheet valuable

By SFC Media time Tue 29 Dec Saints v West Ham United
Photo by Matt Watson | Richard Kitzbichler (left)

Stand-in manager for the evening Richard Kitzbichler said his team can be happy with the point gained against West Ham at St Mary's, having worked hard to earn a seventh shutout of the season.

Ralph Hasenhüttl missed the tie following a positive Covid-19 test in his household, but dialed in from home and led the team remotely, assisted by Kitzbichler and the remainder of his first-team coaching staff.

The manager had highlighted the need for defensive stability in previous weeks, and will undoubtedly echo his assistant's thoughts on the improvements at the back, as Saints registered consecutive clean sheets for the second time this season.

"I think it was okay for us, the good thing was we kept a clean sheet again," Kitzbichler explained. "Against West Ham this is not easy, because they can score out of nowhere.

"They are a strong team, we have seen that in previous times we've played them. So the clean sheet is positive and the effort was good, especially when defending.

we can be very pleased that we're conceding less goals.

richard kitzbichler
first-team assistant coach

"Also we had good parts on the ball, some good combinations. Couldn't find maybe final action, to score a goal. But all in all we can be happy with a point.

"We can be very pleased that we're conceding less goals. It's very important. Even if you don't score, it earns you a point. It is a good development.

"[Danny Ings and Oriol Romeu] are a big part of our squad. The goals will come again for Danny, but the work he's doing against the ball is really good.

"Of course it is different [without Ralph Hasenhüttl in attendance], but maybe it sums up the whole year, with what has been happening. It fits good for the last game of the year.

"We prepared well and had our meetings online, Ralph has been always connected to the team so we've learned a lot about technical things in this year. It was okay. Of course he would love to be here in person, but he will be back very soon."

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