Jason Dodd.

Are the Saints confident ahead of Monday?

Former Southampton defender Jason Dodd has said he is hopeful that his old side can come away from Old Trafford with all three points on Monday, but is fully aware of the threat Manchester United pose.

Dodd spent 16 years with the south-coast club during his playing days, but revealed in a recent interview with United Review that he grew up supporting the Reds.
The former full-back also reminisced about some classic matches against United during the ’90s and discussed completing his coaching badges with none other than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer…

What have you made of your old club Southampton since the Premier League restart?

“I think the break did them good. Prior to lockdown, they had lost four of their five most recent matches, whereas they have picked up some vital wins since the Premier League restart against the likes of Norwich City and Watford. I’ve been particularly impressed with how Southampton have set-up away from home. They defend as a unit and they have been very affective hitting teams on the counter-attack.”

Ole's press conference before United v SaintsVideo

Which individuals have impressed you in a Southampton shirt this season?

“Danny Ings has been having an incredible season and his confidence is sky-high. When he gets a chance, you just think ‘goal’. He has benefited from being a regular in the starting line-up this season whereas the previous couple of seasons, he was a bit more in and out of the side. Being a centre-forward, you need that consistent run of games and he’s shown this season just how good he is. He’s as fit as he’s ever been during his time at Southampton and what a composed finisher he is. Nathan Redmond is a bit underrated for me. I really love his positivity and the way he’s always looking to make an impact of a game. When things don’t go for him, he never hides and he’s always looking to create the next opportunity.  A number of the midfielders have been getting goals for Southampton this season, which is always a good sign. {Stuart] Armstrong has been getting game time and showing what a good player he is.”
How good a job do you think Ralph Hasenhuttl is doing as Southampton manager?

“Ralph is starting to put his stamp on how he wants Southampton to play and he’s been getting good performances out of his players. We’ve got to consider that he hasn’t had much money to spend [in the transfer market] and hasn’t been able to assemble ‘his’ team as yet.  When he first came to the club, there was a real emphasis on pressing football but I think he’s realised he has got to play in a certain way currently that gets the best out of the players he has at his disposal. Over time, his philosophy and style can come to the fore as he gets in more of the kind of players he wants. Southampton head to Old Trafford in decent form. I’m expecting it to be a very good watch given how well Manchester United have been playing of late. This game will be a measure for Southampton, up against one of the form teams – possibly THE form team - in the Premier League right now in Manchester United.”

MUTV Group Chat: Can United win the Europa League?Video

Prior to your 16 years as a Southampton player, we understand you grew up supporting Manchester United?

That’s right! Growing up in Bath in the 1980s, all the kids supported Liverpool but my dad got me a Manchester United bag and that was it! I had to pinch myself coming up against Manchester United during my career… playing against the biggest club in the world for me. We had some good results against United - the 6-3 victory at the Dell (26 October 1996) is the one that instantly springs to mind. It was amazing to beat an incredible Manchester United team at home a number of times during my Southampton career. Not many teams could say that at the time. I loved visiting Old Trafford; it was an absolute honour to play there. The Southampton-Manchester United fixtures were the ones I looked for straight away when the fixtures came out prior to the start of each season during my career.”
Jason Dodd tackels Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Jason and Ole came to know each other well as players, and later, as coaches.
Who was the toughest opponent from Manchester United you came up against during your career?

“I played right-back for most of my career, so obviously matches against Manchester United back then meant coming up against Ryan Giggs. He was one of the best players in the world during his career, so it was the ultimate challenge playing against him. I loved it. It was the challenge of facing the very best that I loved, as a player. I got turned over by him on a number of occasions, but that’s football for you!”

What was it like studying for your UEFA Pro-Licence alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer?

“I was very lucky to study for my Pro-Licence for a year alongside Ole. He was an absolute pleasure to be around… someone who is calm and collected. You could see Ole was going to be a manager. You can never predict anyone is going to be a Manchester United manager, but it was pretty apparent that he had the ability and personality to manage at a high level. Manchester United are a huge club and a club he knows inside out. He has won the various competitions with Manchester United as a player, that the club are looking to win again with him as the manager. Ole’s starting to get his philosophy across in terms of how he wants to play. Ole is a relaxed individual and we’re seeing United playing in a relaxed and confident way which is getting results.”

This interview first appeared in United Review, ahead of the United v Bournemouth match on 13 July. Get your copy now.

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