New Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl believes his squad is already buying into his philosophy, despite an opening defeat to relegation rivals Cardiff.
Hasenhuttl spent just two days with his new players before Callum Paterson pounced on a Jannik Vestergaard mistake to again expose Southampton’s defensive deficiencies.
The Saints are now in 19th place and only Fulham’s inferior goal difference separates them from bottom spot in the Premier League.
“I was not disappointed with what my team showed me,” said former RB Leipzig manager Hasenhuttl, who succeeded the sacked Mark Hughes on Thursday.
“The mentality was OK and the team is trying to get out of this situation.
“They have to believe in what we’re doing and I saw that they did it for a very long time.
“We had two days good training, but it probably wasn’t enough.
“Even though it is a very difficult situation for the whole club, I am not afraid of the challenge of doing better than we did here.”
Hughes’ eight-month reign came to an abrupt end last week after the Saints had managed only one league win all season.
Now Hasenhuttl, who became the first Austrian to manage in the Premier League, must finds his feet in England quickly as the Saints have testing fixtures over the Christmas and New Year period.
As well as next Sunday’s home date with Arsenal, Southampton also play champions Manchester City and Chelsea in their next five games.
“Looking at the fixtures, we now have many days to prepare for the next match, more days to work with this manager and learn from him,” midfielder Oriol Romeu said after being recalled to the Saints’ starting line-up for the first time since the end of October.
“They (Cardiff) have now made that gap a little bit bigger which is a negative thing for us.
“But on the other side we have a new manager and we’ve only been working with him for two days.
“We tried to go and react, but this team know how to manage the games when they are leading so it didn’t come.”
Cardiff’s win – their fourth in five home games – was supplied by makeshift striker Paterson’s fourth goal of the season and took them into a season-high position of 14th.
Neil Warnock’s side have won 13 of their 14 points at home, and defender Joe Bennett insists the Bluebirds must improve on their dismal away record to survive.
“We’ve been struggling away from home where it’s obviously difficult to get points,” Bennett said after Cardiff had moved four points clear of the bottom three.
“But if we can carry on our home form and nick a few results away from home that could keep us up.
“It’s vital we try and pick up points away. I think we’ve got to do that to stay up.”
On Cardiff’s current position, Bennett added: “It looks good at the moment, but a few bad results and you can find yourselves back down there.
“It’s important we carry on playing like we are, and hopefully we can stay clear of the relegation zone.”