Saints boss stays alive but City loom again

City's Spanish defender Angelino stretching for the ball against Southampton in their League Cup last-16 tie at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday. While the Saints lost 3-1, it was a vast improvement from their 9-0 drubbing by Leicester in the league las
City's Spanish defender Angelino stretching for the ball against Southampton in their League Cup last-16 tie at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday. While the Saints lost 3-1, it was a vast improvement from their 9-0 drubbing by Leicester in the league last week.REUTERS

LONDON • Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl still tops the sack race, but he will survive - at least until the weekend - after the Saints showed a "reaction" as they went down 3-1 to Manchester City in their fourth-round League Cup tie.

He was left fearing the worst on Tuesday night, with the meeting against Pep Guardiola's players coming on the heels of their 9-0 home thrashing by Leicester just four days before.

It was the biggest victory on the road in English top-flight history and equalled the Premier League record win, home or away, a result that Hasenhuttl called "a disaster".

While City cruised into the quarter-finals through Sergio Aguero's double and Nicolas Otamendi's header, the visitors did not capitulate, with Jack Stephens scoring a late consolation goal.

There will be no breathing room though for the under-fire Hasenhuttl, who was serenaded by the Etihad faithful with chants of "We want 10". His team have to play at City again in the league on Saturday but he can take heart from the fight shown on Tuesday, unlike the St Mary's horror show.

The Austrian said: "It was a defeat but after a very, very difficult night on Friday, to come here and play against one of the strongest sides on this planet, you can think about easier challenges to have.

"Always when you come here... and in the first 10 minutes you never know what happens.

"It is normally not our way to play football but it was understandable after the last game.

"In the second half, you could see that we got a little bit more self confidence, we pressed a little bit higher, had a few good moments and also with the ball, we had more calmness and we showed that we could also play football."

It was a comfortable win for City, despite making nine changes from the team that beat Aston Villa 3-0 in the league on Saturday. They have won the League Cup three times in the last four seasons.

The only downside was a late injury to Spanish defender Angelino, but Guardiola claimed he was "happy with what he saw".

"This competition is good to move the team on. We played seriously, the quality of our passing was high," the City manager, who also gave a debut to 18-year-old midfielder Tommy Doyle, added.

"The League Cup is really good for the young players and for the players who didn't play in the last game.

"You cannot win four titles in one season when you don't play games so seriously."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2019, with the headline 'Saints boss stays alive but City loom again'. Print Edition | Subscribe