Ralph Hasenhuttl admitted Saints deserved to lose his first game as manager for making unacceptable mistakes.

Jannik Vestergaard’s awful attempted back pass led to the only goal of the game, converted by Callum Paterson as relegation rivals Cardiff secured a 1-0 win in front of their own fans.

The result left Saints without a win in their last 12 Premier League matches and saw them sink to second from bottom in the table.

It also underlined the size of the task Hasenhuttl has taken on.

“It was a really tough game for us, a very physical game,” admitted the Austrian.

“I think we started well the first 15-20 minutes, we had good pressing situations, a few chances against a very physical team.

“It was not easy to find the right space, to find the last action, and the last action was not focussed enough I think.

“Afterwards we gave away too much counter situations and they were very dangerous because we could get a goal in this spirit.

“Then after was the goal and we tried to show them what we can do better.

“There were a few things we changed in half time. I took Yan off and brought Jack in on the right hand side because he was booked and it was too dangerous to leave him on the pitch.

“Afterwards I think it was the best period in our game, the first 20-25 minutes after the break. “We had a lot of pressure and were good in ball possession, although for me it was too much playing inside and too little playing deep or running deep. We need more in the next month and less mistakes in the last row. That is clear.

“In this level you are not allowed to give the ball away two times in that manner.

“It is very hard to accept that we didn’t take a point but with these mistakes you don’t deserve it.

“We had two good days of training, two hard days, but maybe it’s not enough at the moment.

“I am looking forward to coming back.

“It’s a very difficult situation for the whole club but I am not afraid we can do better.”

Hasnehuttl made six changes to the Saints team for the game in Wales and certainly discovered plenty about his players.

“I always said either we win or we learn and today we learned. Absolutely,” he insisted.

“It is not easy to stand here outside. It is a very passion and emotional atmosphere and I think for that part I was not disappointed about what my team showed me, but that is a basic and the rest will come I hope in the next weeks.”