RALPH Hasenhuttl admits he is inspired by the longevity of Roy Hodgson as he prepares to pit his wits against Jose Mourinho, ‘the most successful of us all’, for the first time.

The Saints manager enjoyed his tactical tussle with 72-year-old Hodgson during the 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Now his side is aiming to extend their unbeaten run to four matches by beginning the new year with a repeat of their win against Spurs in the corresponding match of last season.

It will be the first time Hasenhuttl has been up against a team managed by Mourinho.

The Portugese is a manager he has the utmost respect for.

“He’s the most successful of us all,” said Hasenuttl, who then likened Mourinho to Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson

Speaking after Sunday’s draw against Palace, he continued: “When I see today my opponent standing beside me… I was speaking with him before the game. He is 72 and has done 500 games so far in his managerial career. I asked if he is still nervous before games - he said ‘yes’.

“This guy is still motivated in this job and Jose is the same, still one of the best managers.”

Asked if he can see himself managing at Hodgson’s age, 52-year-old Hasenhuttl added: “When I look at him and see him enjoying his time I think yes, but it’s another 20 years for me!”

Many felt Hasenhuttl would do well to last a year in charge of Saints after the 9-0 defeat at home to Leicester City two months ago.

But his resilience has been rewarded with his side’s run of 14 points from their last eight games.

“I was never thinking about the pressure on me I was always taking pressure off the team,” he said.

“I said in a German newspaper that when you stay alive after 0-9 you lose every fear you can think of as a manager, because you get a signal from your club that they believe in what you’re doing.

“We developed our game after this experience.

“When you see where we are in the table it’s the best answer you can give.”

Saints are aiming for only their fourth home win since beating Spurs 2-1 with two late goals last March, when Yan Valery’s memorable 76th-minute equaliser was followed by James Ward-Prowse’s match-winning free-kick.

“We know about the team from last season when we had an interesting game here in the first half,” recalled Hasenhuttl. “We could have been 4-0 down and in the second half we turned the table.

“I’m looking forward to an interesting game for the players but also for the crowd.

“It’s always nice for us to play against a big team.

“We’ve had a few good games this season. We didn’t take a lot of points at home, only one against Man Utd, but we are now a bit further in our development so I’m looking forward to it.”

Danny Ings will be looking to add to his 12 Premier League goals for the season, having started his run of 11 goals in 13 starts at Spurs three months ago.

Hasenhuttl added: “Danny had a history of injuries last season but is fitter this season. He is much more working for the team in the moment.

“Even then you must pay attention but he had two days more to rest so we will play him on Wednesday.”

The Saints boss has been as impressed by his side’s defending in recent matches, as by Ings’ goalscoring streak.

“We had a clean sheet against Chelsea and another decent defensive performance against Crystal Palace,” he added.

“Sometimes this is more important than the fact that Ingsy scores every game.”