The five
key quotes from Ralph Hasenhuttl’s pre-Tottenham Hotspur press conference
(Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images)

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl spoke to the media ahead of his side’s meeting with Tottenham Hotspur with early form cause for concern for the Saints.

A 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace was a disappointing start to the Premier League season and was compounded on Wednesday night when they were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Brentford.

The Austrian boss talked early beginnings, squad fitness and transfer speculation ahead of his clash with Jose Mourinho, one that will likely see Pierre Emile Hojbjerg’s return to St. Mary’s.

We have to score from midfield because in the last two games we didn’t score a goal.

Perhaps the most concerning aspect of the two defeats for Southampton is the fact that the side has drawn a blank on both occasions after a superb season in front of goal last term.

A total of 51 goals scored last season was equal-eighth best in the league, largely on the back of Danny Ings’ career-best campaign and a resurgent Che Adams in Project Restart.

The strike duo came into this season with substantial intrigue and promise, but both missed big chances at Selhurst Park and are yet to find the net having both started the two fixtures.

The manager has called on greater impetus to come from the middle of the pitch if and when the front two are failing to fire. Three of the midfield four were the same in both clashes, with only Nathan Tella replacing Will Smallbone on the right-hand side.

After the Palace defeat, Hasenhuttl said the side needed to do more to bring Smallbone into the game, while Nathan Redmond also struggled to gain a stranglehold of the clash.

Redmond will miss the Spurs game but Stuart Armstrong could return to provide a touch more flair to the middle of the pitch.

We have been a team that wasn’t that nasty and aggressive like we should be.

As well as creativity, or lack of it, Hasenhuttl hasn’t been impressed with the work rate and application of his players, something he has demanded from day one.

After the Brentford result the boss bemoaned a lack of fitness and match sharpness hampering the team, with the now distinctive pressing not up to speed as he believes it should be.

Ahead of a first league clash on home soil, Hasenhuttl has hinted at the need for more effort from his players and said this issue is something that they must get right sooner rather than later.

(Danny Ings) is 100% to be here and for us it is 100% not discussable that we lose one of the best strikers in Europe.

A definitive statement from Hasenhuttl on the future of his star man up front. Amid speculation surrounding interest from Spurs, Danny Ings appears to be going nowhere.

Fresh after a first England call-up in five years after his 22 league goals last season, just one shy of Jamie Vardy in the golden boot race.

Rumours earlier in the summer linked Ings with a new long-term contract at his hometown club but talks seem to have cooled on that front.

Holding onto Ings will be crucia for Southampton’s season and their immediate future beyond, and fans will undoubtedly be delighted with the manager’s assuredness on the situation.

(Mohammed Salisu) is coming closer and hopefully we see him very soon on the pitch.

Still Southampton’s only summer signing thus far, centre-back Mohammed Salisu has not been fit for either matchday squad in the last week due to some minor issues.

But Hasenhuttl hinted the Ghanaian could be involved for the first time as a Southampton player with participation in training stepping up for their signing from Real Valladolid.

In other team news, Hasenhuttl confirmed Redmond’s absence as mentioned and refused to rule out a return for Armstrong, although casting doubt on the Scotsman playing from the start.

We are still looking, the market is still open.

The club has just under a month to look at players to add to the sole acquisition of Salisu so far, with midfield a particularly key area for the side.

The club have failed as yet to replace Hojbjerg while also losing both Harrison Reid and Mario Lemina to Fulham, leaving Hasenhuttl rather short handed in the middle of the pitch.

Speculation is mounting over Sofiane Boufal’s future at the club with Olympiacos said to be keen, in which case a replacement for him could be on the cards.

 

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