FORMER Saints boss Ralph Hasen­hut­tl admit­ted he want­ed to “go under­ground” after four years in the Pre­mier League. 

The Aus­tri­an man­ag­er had always planned to retire in the sum­mer of 2024 at the end of his Southamp­ton con­tract.

Instead, Hasen­hut­tl was sacked with his Saints side in the rel­e­ga­tion zone in Novem­ber 2022 and he has been out of work since.

Hasen­hut­tl has now been named as the new man­ag­er of Bun­desli­ga out­fit Wolfs­burg, giv­ing his first press con­fer­ence to Ger­man media. 

The for­mer Aus­tri­an inter­na­tion­al explained his deci­sion to go back into man­age­ment after near­ly two years of rest. 

Hasen­hut­tl said: “I’m real­ly hap­py to be back in the Bun­desli­ga.

“For me, the deci­sion was easy because I was able to recov­er for a long time and felt hun­gry again. I did­n’t have to think long before say­ing yes.

“It’s not that I was bored at home. But the knowl­edge that you have as a head coach for so long is long­ing to be put to use.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to bring­ing all the expe­ri­ences I’ve had as a coach to this club,” he con­tin­ued.

“After four years in the Pre­mier League, I just want­ed to go under­ground.

“I real­ly enjoyed walk­ing through the streets unrecog­nised. That was very pleas­ant and nec­es­sary to find the strength and hunger again.” 

Hasen­hut­tl will take his first train­ing ses­sion on Tues­day after recent results led to the dis­missal of Croa­t­ian coach Nico Kovac on Sun­day.

Daily Echo: Ralph Hasenhuttl managed Saints for nearly four yearsRalph Hasen­hut­tl man­aged Saints for near­ly four years

Kovac, 52, took over at the Volk­swa­gen Are­na in May 2022 but recent­ly endured a run of 11 con­sec­u­tive league games with­out a win.

A 3–1 home loss to Augs­burg on Sat­ur­day proved to be the final straw and Hasen­hut­tl has set out his imme­di­ate ambi­tion. 

Wolfs­burg sit 14th, six points clear of the rel­e­ga­tion play­off with eight match­es left to play this sea­son. 

Hasen­hut­tl declared: “The task is clear. We have to try to win again to stay in the league.

“Ulti­mate­ly, it’s about bring­ing my style of foot­ball into the team as quick­ly as pos­si­ble.”