Sticking by your convictions can be tough when the pressure is on, but now is not the time for weakness at Saints.

The club are facing a difficult moment and that calls for clear heads, strong leadership and decisiveness.

There could barely have been a more depressed mood around St Mary’s following the defeat to Everton.

The feeling of hopelessness, of inevitability, of despair pervaded everything. Even a few days later it still does.

It seems incredible to have reached such a point after less than a third of a season that the club went into with renewed optimism, but that’s where they are.

We shouldn’t write them off just yet. After all there is a long way to go in this campaign and there is a pivotal period coming up.

After facing Arsenal, who are in poor form themselves, Saints have five games in a row against teams in the bottom half of the table.

This is the make or break period.

If Saints can get a few wins and a bit of momentum then the St Mary’s world will feel a brighter place.

If the run goes badly then they will almost be doomed to relegation.

Something in between will likely lead to another prolonged period of anxiety.

There has been much talk about the future of Ralph Hasenhuttl, which is understandable to the extent that he is the manager who has overseen the worst ever home league start to a season for the club and a 9-0 loss.

But if the club believe in him then they need to stick with him and back him.

There has been no long-term success brought about at Saints by chopping and changing managers over the last few years. It has been a costly exercise and one that hasn’t brought the good times back.

Perhaps the bounce effect they got when appointing Mark Hughes and later Hasenhuttl kept them up, but as things later levelled out again you don’t know for sure that those few odd results wouldn’t have come anyway.

Since the departure of Ronald Koeman, the manner of whose exit seems all the more excruciating by the day, we have seen largely the same group of players struggle and the manager always carry the can.

Claude Puel did a good job at Saints and yet he was bombed out as fans vented their frustrations over a perceived lack of excitement and he supposedly lost the dressing room late on in his single season in charge.

Mauricio Pellegrino struggled a little more but also had bigger off field issues to deal with. Again, the same pattern followed, the fans turned and he supposedly lost the dressing room and was bombed out.

Mark Hughes came in and kept the club up, in no small part thanks to Swansea’s ineptitude, but within a few months of him getting the job permanently the fans turned and he supposedly lost the dressing room and was bombed out.

In came Hasenhuttl who kept the club up and now within a few months of him getting the job permanently… You can see where this is going.

There is obviously a wider discussion about the ownership of the club and the direction being set from the very top. Until that is sorted out then none of this ever feels like it will really go away.

But right now it doesn’t seem there is a significant shift waiting to happen in that respect and so just bringing every football conversation back to ‘how did we get here’ is a fruitless exercise.

Instead, it should be a case of ‘where do we go now with what is in our control?’ The players have to take some of the blame for this. There has been some terribly poor recruitment, and for those who have been signed that just are not good enough that is not their fault.

However, there has also been a distinct lack of passion and intensity on the pitch in recent times. You can be the worst player in the Premier League and still have that.

Hasenhuttl hasn’t always helped matters either. He needs to try and step away and detach himself for a couple of days and pretend he is walking into the club as a new manager like he did in 2018.

Then he arrived with total clarity of purpose. He picked the players who could work for him and ruthlessly cast aside those who he wasn’t sure about.

It pulled everybody in the right direction, in a unified style of play and towards a common purpose.

His thinking now, by contrast, seems muddled and clouded. Whether this is the effect of losing Danny Rohl and not having the people he needs around him is hard to assess. He did, after all, appoint Rohl's replacement, Richard Kitzbichler, but he still cuts a very lonely figure, isolated almost, with a backroom staff who seem to be at arm’s length.

But while some of the tactics and personnel changes have been strange to blame him for this and sack him – no doubt flushing another £10m or similar down the toilet – seems total folly.

Saints believe he is the right man and so stick with him. If that’s what they believe then they must go with it and not spinelessly fold again under pressure, perceived or otherwise, from fans or players or anybody for that matter.

Maybe this does end in relegation, and maybe Hasenhuttl will share some of the blame if that is the case, but to say it won’t be just his fault is the understatement of the year.

After years of struggling maybe Saints just have to go with it and accept they will have to take their medicine, whatever that is come May.

It’s hard to believe it could be much worse than this.