Being a manager is always walking somewhat of a tightrope. Win games and every decision you make no matter how questionable looks like a masterstroke. Lose games and no matter how competent you can be accused of being clueless.

Ralph Hasenhuttl has certainly been producing something of a high wire act early this season.

It has felt as if he isn’t sure of his best team and has been making changes to formation, tactics and personnel while searching to find something that clicks, but it hasn’t really done so for more than patches in games.

And, yet, despite that Saints have had a reasonable opening to the season and secured some decent results. Therefore, it gets largely overlooked and Hasenhuttl is generally absolved of  potential errors.

Fair enough to some extent in a business driven by results, even though a few selections could be placed into the questionable pile.

Last night against Bournemouth it all went wrong in the first half.

Hasenhuttl spoke before the Cherries match of having the element of surprise and that it was a boost to Saints that opponents didn’t know how they might line up, even when the team sheet came out.

There is something to be said for that, of course. There is no denying that in a day and age of such in-depth scouting and preparation, pulling off a shock is difficult but a huge benefit if you get it right.

But a surprise is only any good if it is something that works. Surprising teams by starting players out of their regular positions is hard to get correct in terms of then delivering a performance and a result.

Hasenhuttl’s shock tactics came unstuck against Bournemouth, though aided by some poor individual displays.

Ryan Bertrand was on the bench to begin with again and the defence, and much of the rest of the team, were all over the place, in more ways than one.

It was being chopped and changed every few minutes with a constant merry-go-round of right backs, left backs, right wing-backs, left wing-backs, centre halves, back fives, back fours. And the less said about Saints’ three potential centre halves lined up on the edge of the six-yard box for zonal marking from set-pieces the better given Nathan Ake's opener.

Bournemouth took advantage and got themselves a deserved two-goal lead by half time.

When Bertrand did come on at the break and Saints had a left back at left back, a right back at right back and two centre halves as centre halves and they were much better.

Sadly, they had just left themselves a bit too much to do and a comical goal at the end really just rubbed salt into the wounds.

It’s back to the drawing board for Hasenhuttl who must surely keep things simple for the massive derby game at Pompey, which is no occasion for trying to be too clever.