Southampton achieved a very respectable finish despite having the second weakest home record in the division and spending the majority of the first 4 months of the season in the relegation zone. The difficult start culminated in a humiliating 0:9 home loss vs Leicester in round 10, but instead of overreacting the Saints kept faith in their manager and players, which ultimately paid off.
Form improved with 4 wins in December and then very solid after that, especially on the road. Displays in 2020 were not disturbed much by the 4-month COVID-break and brought the very respectful final position.
The main strength of the team was the way they counterattacked on the road with Danny Ings having an excellent season that saw him score 20+ goals. Southampton made very good use of counter-pressing too and they definitely played modern, effective and exciting to watch football post-Christmas.
Defensively there were problems all campaign, with insecure periods for both goalkeepers that started league games and shaky individual displays from the back line that never really allowed Southampton to dominate at home.
Coach Hasenhuttl deserves praise for achieving far more than expected with the group of players he had at his disposal. The Austrian also proved to be very good in developing youngsters, with Valery, Smallbone and Obafemi just some of those teenagers that became important members of the senior squad.
Considering the congested schedule expected in 2020/21, Hasenhuttl’s ability to use young players successfully might be crucial again in what Southampton expect to be another solid campaign of mid-table existence.