Ralph Hasenhuttl batted away questions over his future as he admitted Saints were “not brave enough and not good enough” in the first half of their defeat to Everton.

Saints’ 2-1 loss condemned them to their worst ever home start to a league campaign and leaves them mired in the bottom three heading into the international break.

There was widespread booing at St Mary’s, especially at half time after a woeful first 45 minutes in which Saints fell behind early on and failed to muster a single shot.

On the back of the 9-0 hammering to Leicester last time at home, and with Saints having taken only one point on their own turf from six matches this season, there are inevitable questions being asked about the manager, but he is remaining focussed on turning things around.

He said: “Absolutely understandable that nobody is happy with our performance and I was also not happy in the half time.

“To be clear I need all my energy to find answers for other questions, questions that are more focused on how we play and how we can do better and this is all I do the whole day.

“Therefore, I am here and therefore I try to be strong.”

Hasenhuttl had demanded a reaction from Saints after the Leicester debacle but the first half performance was not far off what was witnessed against the Foxes.

“When I see our performance in the first half normally you don’t get anything in football if you play like we did in the first half,” admitted Hasenhuttl.

“It was again a very very early goal, first chance, first goal like very often in our home games.

“After this goal you could feel the lack of self-confidence and positivity.

“All we prepared for this game was gone in that moment. Nobody wanted to have the ball anymore and all the spaces we wanted to use nobody saw them and not brave enough and not good enough simply.

“In the half time we tried to give them a lift and subs with Sofiane in and more risk, more offensive. Both sides had offensive guys with Stuie and Moussa to bring the game more in the opposition half.

“It was a good reaction in the second half at the beginning and Sofiane was absolutely a lift for us and played good and then you make the equaliser but still then I think when we defend like this, when we are exposed like this sometimes it is simply not good enough for the Premier League.

“We have in the moment a problem to press high and to give pressure in front but also not being too exposed in that moment. This is the biggest problem at the moment.

“When we defend very deep and committed it is difficult to score against us but in the moment we want to press high, win balls earlier and try to be a little bit more offensive we are not able to stop the opponent and that is the biggest problem we have at the moment.”