Ralph Hasenhuttl admitted that nine-man Southampton’s stunning 9-0 drubbing at the hands of Manchester United was a "horrible" defeat, but different to their thrashing by the same scoreline against Leicester City last season.
United equalled the record Premier League win - set by Sir Alex Ferguson's United in a 9-0 win over Ipswich Town in 1995, then matched by Leicester in October 2019 - to go level on points with Manchester City at the top of the table.
The sending off of Alexandre Jankewitz in only the second minute ensured an injury-ravaged Saints would be in for a long night, but United showed no mercy and scored three goals after Jan Bednarek's late red card depleted their opponents further.
Hasenhuttl survived the 9-0 home defeat to Leicester and subsequently turned Southampton's fortunes around last year, guiding them away from the relegation zone to an 11th-placed finish and a strong first half to the 2020-21 season.
This repeat scoreline risks opening old wounds but the Saints manager insisted that there was reason to believe that he and his players will bounce back again.
"We lost again in a horrible way," he admitted. "Yes, again, the same story, one man down and 90 minutes can be long in the Premier League.
"I couldn't help them from outside, the guys. I had no alternatives, no players on the bench, no alternatives to defend better. But in the end, it’s a different situation to the first time.
"We've played a good season so far and we are in a position in the table that we haven’t been in for a long time.
"The team is a different one now and that's the reason why we’ve played a good season so far. Let’s see how the season ends."
Hasenhuttl refused to blame Jankewitz, who received a straight red card for a wild challenge on McTominay just 78 seconds into his first Premier League start.
"What can I complain about? A young lad playing the first time in the Premier League, he knows he made a big mistake," Hasenhuttl said. "We pay the bill.
On the defeat, he added: "The goals, especially the last five goals were too easy, but we were one down and then also two down. I know that tomorrow, nobody will speak about that, like nobody spoke about the sending off in the first 9-0.
"But we can still discuss how easy we conceded against one of the best teams in the league. We've had fantastic results here in the past and now it’s a horrible result for us. It doesn’t change my opinion of the season we had so far.
"It's the same team that won against Liverpool one month ago. The only difference is now we have nine injured players and no alternatives. Do you want me to blame the young lads for not doing their job perfect? I don't think so."
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