IT was very interesting to read the first big interview with Ralph Hasenhuttl in these pages this week.

Ralph’s already won everyone over as the players are giving 100 per cent. Their fitness has obviously improved and, most importantly, their attitude.

For many years I’ve said that the most successful managers, certainly in my era, cut their teeth at a lower level.

Ralph has that in common with the likes of Brian Clough, Sir Bobby Robson and myself, having managed for more than a decade before arriving in the Premier League.

The fact he has had numerous jobs and worked his way up the ladder will stand him in good stead in the long run.

Whilst I was fortunate to win league titles at four previous clubs before joining Saints – one as a coach and three as a manager – I also experienced a relegation.

For that reason I recommended Rudyard Kipling’s great poem ‘If’ to all young managers, as it’s so important to treat triumph and disaster the same.

That attitude has certainly been applied by any successful manager/coach with any longevity.

It was also encouraging to read about Ralph’s obvious involvement at every level on the training ground.

Unlike some of our previous coaches, who gave me the impression they were only here to coach the first team, Ralph has shown great interest in the academy.

It gives the youth players a lift to know they have a chance if they impress the manager.

It also keeps any complacent senior players on their toes if the manager is making decisions based on what he sees on the training ground.

I was also impressed by the fact Ralph took the FA Cup more seriously than some of his counterparts and was naturally as disappointed as we were to miss out on penalties against Derby County.

It contrasted with Mauricio Pochettino’s comments after Tottenham exited the FA Cup and Carabao Cup in the space of four days.

I don’t think Mr Pochettino did himself any favours with Spurs supporters by more or less saying ‘we might have been knocked out of two cups in a week but it doesn’t really matter because the league is much more important’.

From my time as manager, winning the FA Cup in 1976 is the lasting memory of most supporters. Not the season we finished second, only three points behind Division One champions Liverpool.

That is still the highest position the club has ever achieved and, as someone pointed out to me recently, it also featured the goal of the season – a brilliant Danny Wallace scissor-kick.

But very rarely will anyone say anything about that league season to me, even though it was over 42 games as opposed to the six wins we needed to win the Cup.

I think Mr Pochettino was wrong.

The FA Cup has always been the aim of not just players but mainly supporters.

Thankfully we have a manager who thinks the same way.

When you have a dressing room full of so many different characters, it definitely helps if the manager has a sense of humour.

He doesn’t see the point in financial fines as players earn so much these days. But he does accept that sometimes a player should be punished for wasting time, being late etc.

I would never take money from a player. Like Mr Hasenhuttl’s squad, we used our imagination.

Southampton’s current players have been threatened with a shift in the club shop if they step out of line.

Players in my team were made to stand on the bench in the dressing room and sing a song, still starkers after getting out of the shower!

One player was banished to the referee’s room to change and apprentices would now and again be made to clean either the manager or a trainer’s car.

It all adds to the team spirit.

Recently I had a conversation with Mel Blyth, who was outstanding when we won our semi-final against Crystal Palace, his former club, at Stamford Bridge in 1976.

Looking back on his Saints days, he recounted more stories from the dressing room than on the pitch.

He recalled how there were many times when I would be giving them a good telling off and be answered back, but it would never affect the team selection the following game.

I often wonder if it’s more difficult now with bigger squads than in those days.

I was definitely impressed by what I read.

I just hope we have Ralph with us longer than some of his recent predecessors.