Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl sends Pep Guardiola ultimate compliment ahead of Man City clash

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has admitted that it is “quite hard” to find a way to get the better of Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola ahead of Saturday’s clash at the Etihad Stadium.

City, who fired five past the Saints when they last met back in March, will be going in search of a fifth successive victory in all competitions this weekend after beating RB Leipzig 6-3 in a UEFA Champions League blockbuster on Wednesday evening.

City’s six-goal haul against the Bundesliga outfit once again provided proof that, even without a striker, they are a force to be reckoned with, with their goals tally in their last four games now standing at a very impressive 17.

With that in mind, City are strong favourites to maintain their winning run against a Saints side that are yet to taste victory in the Premier League so far this season.

Despite that, Saints chief Hasenhuttl is optimistic that his side can make life difficult for City, but admits finding a way to get the better of Guardiola’s thinking and managerial qualities is far from straight forward.

“The warm words from Pep you usually get after the game, when he has won,” Hasenhuttl told Southampton’s club website. “So that’s nice. I enjoy these games, to be honest, against Pep.

“It’s pure football, pure Premier League, it’s the highest level. This is why you want to do this job. You know how tough it is, this is the challenge and the thing we like.

“To surprise Pep is quite hard, because he always finds the answers. But our goal is to keep the game open as long as possible.

“I know Pep will come with everything they have, it will be tough to compete. But we have also some qualities and we must believe in what we are doing. We want to be a nasty team to play against, and then you need luck and the ball in the right moments.

“This is why the Premier League is so special, every weekend you face fantastic opponents. Very experienced managers. The feeling before a game is a mixture of enjoying what is to come, high respect about the opponent, but always hoping for the big surprise for everybody. We go there with a good balance of braveness and respect.”

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