Publish Date: Friday 26 June 2020 2:52
Ralph Hasenhuttl will give Alex McCarthy time to redeem himself instead of "killing" the Southampton goalkeeper after an error as inexplicable as it was terrible against Arsenal.
Having returned from the coronavirus suspension with a blow at Norwich, the 3-0 win away was followed by a very familiar fault at St. Mary's on Thursday night.
The home team with the worst performance in the Premier League fell to a 2-0 loss to Gunners' outstanding, with McCarthy's atrocious pass on Eddie Nketiah's path, putting Mikel Arteta's side on the road to victory .
Hasenhuttl's frustration with the error remained palpable the following day, but the head of the Santos promised to give McCarthy another chance, with Angus Gunn waiting backstage ahead of Sunday trip to Watford.
"Let's take a look (how's it going)," said the Austrian when asked if Gunn could have a chance between clubs before the season ended.
"I don't want to kill a goalkeeper, because he makes a mistake when we want to play a little more.
“Although yesterday's mistake was terrible because there was not much pressure at the time, it was very easy for him to denounce it. So easy, it is not possible.
"There were a few other times when he could have a better position on the pitch, but now I also see progress in his game, so let's give him time and do that."
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In addition to the howler, McCarthy failed to attempt Alexandre Lacazette in the second half when Joe Willock submitted Arsenal.
The attack came from the free kick that followed the expulsion of Jack Stephens for taking down Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with the Santos defender in trouble for Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's terrible pass.
Such mistakes punctuated Santos' season and regularly saw them step back when things were looking up.
"If you heard Jurgen Klopp last night, what was the biggest change they made in the last few years was exactly that part of consistency," said Hasenhuttl.
“In the first two, three years that he was there, they always had terms in which they were no longer hungry.
"I think it's the type of character that you should implement in a team and, sometimes, it's only possible if you change some guys in the future and create a new spirit, a new character in the team.
"Definitely, every time we want to take the next step, perhaps in the top 10, we are failing.
"This is definitely something to look forward to in the summer."
Stephens will miss the trip to Vicarage Road after being sent off against Arsenal – a match that Sofiane Boufal lost with a thigh complaint.
Moussa Djenepo this weekend serves the final game of a three-game ban for his March red card against Newcastle.