Southampton’s Ralph Hasenhuttl admits it was ‘not perfect’ to question keeper professionalism

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl says he was “not perfect” when questioning Alex McCarthy’s professionalism and would handle the matter differently in future.

Hasenhuttl rounded on McCarthy after Southampton’s 1-1 home draw with Brighton last weekend, blaming the goalkeeper for Neal Maupay’s last-ditch equaliser.

With the injured McCarthy fearing he was not mobile enough to protect the entire goal, James Ward-Prowse raced back to provide cover and ended up playing Maupay onside.

Hasenhuttl said after the game that McCarthy “must be definitely more professional than that”, adding he would have replaced him with youngster Harry Lewis had he known about his hamstring issue.

The Saints boss, however, struck a conciliatory tone ahead of their Premier League trip to Arsenal, saying: “I was not perfect to do this after the game. I didn’t have all the information I should have after the game and that is always an issue.

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“I hadn’t spoken with everybody. I know more now about what happened on the pitch and I would do it differently. But now isn’t the time to speak about it. We took a few good things from the last game.”

McCarthy has been ever-present for Southampton in the Premier League this season. But that run will come to an end on Saturday, with McCarthy facing three to four weeks on the sidelines.

“Everybody is in good shape at the moment and it’s a pity Alex is out now,” Hasenhuttl said. “I think against Brighton he did a very good job and kept us in the game two or three times in a fantastic way.

“What happened at the end was not right from our side.”

With Fraser Forster also sidelined by injury, the 40-year-old Willy Caballero is set to make his Southampton debut at Arsenal.

Former Manchester City and Chelsea goalkeeper Caballero, who had been training with AFC Wimbledon to sustain his fitness since leaving Stamford Bridge in the summer, signed a short-term Saints contract on Monday.

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“We’ve worked with him on some information, video clips, so he knows how he has to play with the ball and against the ball. It’s important for a goalkeeper,” Hasenhuttl said.

“He’s a smart guy, he is fit and coming in with a willingness to help us and this is what we need now.”

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