Southampton boss Ralph Hassenhuttl has praised Jesse Marsch ahead of Saturday’s clash between Southampton and Leeds.
The pair have temporarily worked together before, with Hassenhuttl allowing Marsch to join his staff at Leipzig for two months in 2016/17.
Now the pair will face off as managers for the first time, and the Austrian was highly complimentary of the American’s work at Leeds.
He said: “I think he’s found a team that suits him and his way of playing football. This is the reason why I think he has immediately had a good impact on this team.
“He is an outstanding character, very, very close to the players, he is a fantastic character I must say.
“I was with him a few times and it was interesting to hear his view about football. It was interesting to watch his development as a coach… the steps he made were absolutely good.
“First Salzburg, then Leipzig and now in the Premier League, it’s absolutely the right way to go”.
Hasenhuttl’s compliments are certainly not unfounded. When Marsch arrived Leeds were on a six game winless run, losing five of those games and conceding 21 goals.
However, despite losing his first two games, Marsch has now led his side to back to back victories. Wins at home to Norwich and away at Wolves have alleviated the club’s relegation concerns.
This is despite facing the task of transitioning the side from a man to man defensive system to a more orthodox pressing style.
Turning his focus towards Saturday’s game, Hassenhuttl confirmed that the Saints have a fully fit squad ahead of their trip to Elland Road.
He was also keen to emphasise the importance of the remaining games for the club. Southampton currently sit in eleventh place and Hassenhuttl is eyeing a top half finish.
He claimed: “We try to focus on these nine games. They are very crucial for our future because it makes a big difference if you end up in a top ten position.
“Going into the transfer window in the Summer in this position gives you more opportunities as a club”.
The two coaches clearly respect each other, however it is unlikely any punches will be pulled in a crucial clash.