RYAN Bertrand believes Saints have got their identity back.

The defender came back into the team last month following a back operation that kept him sidelined for 16 games.

And since his return to the side, Saints have won three out of their six matches which Bertrand believes is down to Ralph Hasenhuttl.

Bertrand said: “The manager has come in and has given us an identity. He has given us a clear style of play and doesn’t leave any stone unturned.

“It’s a real pleasure to go to the field like that and not have people questioning each other what to do.

Daily Echo: Saints boss Ralph HasenhuttlSaints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl

“When there is an argument, they are genuine arguments because everyone knows their role and will know if they haven’t done something right.

“If you were to ask 100 people what Southampton’s style of play was, the answers would all be similar.

“It would be that we are a high pressing team, very competitive and play some good football. Before, it might have been adrift.”

Under the guidance of former boss Mark Hughes this season, Saints had only managed one Premier League win before his sacking in December.

There’s an understanding that players weren’t so sure exactly what gameplan they were trying to implement under the Welshman.

Because of this, Bertrand admitted the turnaround in results since Hasenhuttl arrived aren’t a coincidence.

“I think for us, it calms things down,” the former Chelsea player added.

“From the outside, fans might want more from their teams or want the team to show passion, show commitment and make tackles.

“In the game, you need a gameplan to be able to do it on a more consistent basis in the Premier League.

“We are playing at such a high level that if you are to go out and just worry about yourself and think that I am going to get in my opponent’s face, you’ll leave a gap and they will score.

“They will play one-twos around you, but with a philosophy, you do it together.”

Having seen Matt Targett take his place during his time in the treatment room, Bertrand was keen to find other ways to gain Hasenhuttl’s attention.

The Saints boss initially thought the 29-year-old would be out of action for 12-14 days following a minor back operation which quickly turned into three months.

“The healing process was the main frustration because I was waiting for the wound to heal which was taking a little bit longer than previously thought,” he added.

Daily Echo: Ryan Bertrand in action for SaintsRyan Bertrand in action for Saints

“That was the only thing that was frustrating, but as soon as I got back I felt good.

“I actually asked for the videos. I said to him that whilst I’m away and not participating in the daily meetings, because of a different schedule, I’d like to get some footage on his style of play and his expectations.

“I wanted to start mentally processing it and it worked well. It was a new manager and a new regime, and I love learning.”

Bertrand was overlooked by Gareth Southgate for his England squad last summer but revealed he is over the disappointment.

The Saints defender said: “In football, there are plenty of setbacks in your career and missing out on the World Cup was a big one.

“The manager had a decision to make and he made it. I don’t like setbacks, but in football, you have to learn to get other things and keep going.

“When you get to the end of your career you can look back and hope there are enough positives to counteract the negatives.

“That’s all you can ask for.”