Manager Ralph Hassenhuttl has revealed he turned down ‘financially lucrative’ offers to return to the game following his spell at Southampton.

The Austrian boss has been speaking to Sky Sports Germany as he gets underway at Wolfsburg, his first club in nearly two years.

He left Southampton in November 2022 after a four-year spell at the club that had initially started brightly and looked hopeful before being brought to an end with the club and manager in a desperate slump of form.

Rather than jumping back in, Hassenhuttl preferred to spend his time out of the game, resting in his native Austria.

Several reports had indicated he had grown tired of the game following his time with Southampton and preferred to stay away, with the 56-year-old even admitting he had considered retiring altogether.

That ultimately did not prove to be the case, though, as he instead elected to return to the game in Germany with Bundesliga side VfL Wolfsburg last month.

They’ll be his first club in over 18 months, and he admits he could have returned sooner, even surprising some in his decision not to do so.

“The energy is back. And I still find the Bundesliga really exciting,” he said.

“I also have a lot to thank her for. It is still one of the best leagues in the world and it can still get better.

“In some cases, my family and my advisor were surprised (he didn’t accept offers). There were not only financially lucrative options, but also very interesting sporting challenges.

“But I wasn’t ready yet. Of course, I never made this public, but I always told interested parties quickly and clearly the reasons why I was not yet available.”