Date published: Wednesday 14th November 2018 1:01
Southampton midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has defended Charlie Austin’s weekend outburst as proof that players do care passionately what happens on the pitch.
Austin‘s post-match rant following the 1-1 draw with Watford went viral and created much amusement on social media when it was set to the Blur hit ‘Parklife’.
— Mark Martin (@immarkmartin) November 11, 2018
The striker branded the controversial decision to disallow his goal with Southampton 1-0 ahead “a joke”, and said the Video Assistant Referee system needed to be introduced to help officials.
“Charlie was raging and of course it can be a little bit funny,” Hojbjerg told Press Association Sport.
“But I don’t think the whole situation is funny.
“What I can say about Charlie is I fully understand his emotion, and we spoke together as team-mates about what happened.
“Charlie’s interview shows that players do care. Believe me, we care a lot.
“It also show that football is about emotions, and Charlie said what everyone saw and maybe what the Southampton shirts felt.”
Southampton’s failure to beat Watford left them just outside the Premier League relegation zone on goal difference.
The Saints have won only once in the league this season – away to Crystal Palace at the start of September – and the pressure has steadily mounted on manager Mark Hughes.
“We are behind the manager 100 per cent,” Hojbjerg said.
“I have to say we are working very good and very hard in the week, and the team is trying its best to give back what the manager is producing on the training field.
“It is not an easy moment now, but we are a good team.
“We have said that a lot, at times too much, but we are a good team and we can get out of this situation.”
Southampton’s next opponents Fulham sacked manager Slavisa Jokanovic on Wednesday after six straight league defeats left them anchored to the foot of the table.
Claudio Ranieri has taken over and Hojbjerg accepts the Craven Cottage clash on November 24 has taken on added importance with the appointment of the Italian who won the title at Leicester in 2016.
“Of course, they are going to have a reaction to that,” said the Denmark international.
“They are going to have some fresh ideas and fresh minds, and a coach they want to prove themselves to.
“But it makes me more motivated for what is a huge game.
“Good for Fulham, but I know we will be 100 per cent ready.
“Those games are nice. They are high-intensity, high nerves, and you learn a lot from that as a football player.”