Hasenhuttl rues Ings blow

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has confirmed that Danny Ings faces another spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

The striker picked up the problem on Saturday in the first half of the 1-1 draw with one of his former teams, Burnley.

He will definitely miss this weekend's match against Cardiff City and is unlikely to play again this month.

Hasenhuttl said: "Danny had made a big step after 20 minutes to the ball and then sprinted and he then had a problem with his hamstring.

"This has cost him another two-three weeks to come back, so that's not good. We miss him because he is a good player for us and a good striker."

Hasenhuttl remains happy with his attacking options even though he sold Manolo Gabbiadini last month while Michael Obafemi and Charlie Austin are not fully-fit.

The Austrian added: "I don't think that we show we have problems to score. We did it in nearly every game and [Nathan] Redmond is having fantastic performances at the moment where he nearly scores every game.

"I don't think our biggest problem isn't being able to score, we should be focused on having more clean sheets in the future."

Ryan Bertrand and Maya Yoshida should be available for the game against the Bluebirds as the former has recovered from injury and the latter has returned to England after representing Japan at the Asian Cup.

Southampton are 3/4 to beat Cardiff and 6/5 to keep a clean sheet against Neil Warnock's side, 1/2 to be relegated this term.

Smaller squad suits Hasenhuttl

Ralph Hasenhuttl has played down the chances of any new players arriving at Southampton before the transfer window closes on Thursday.

The Saints boss has sold Manolo Gabbiadini to Sampdoria this month and allowed Steven Davis, Wesley Hoedt and Cedric Soares to leave St Mary's on loan deals.

The Austrian has not bought any new players in January so far, although he has been linked with Birmingham striker Che Adams and Genk's Joakim Maehle.

Hasenhuttl is happy with the players he has at his disposal though and does not feel under pressure to sign any new recruits.

He said: "If you discuss every player who is linked with us it would take a long time.

"Typical for our transfer period now is that we have spoken about making this group being smaller and I think that showed you two things. One is that we trust in the guys here and create energy in sending a few guys away to make the group smaller and work better with them.

"You can be sure we had our eyes open and if we don't sign a player in this transfer period, we sign one for the summer but do it now, but only if the package is 100 per cent right, otherwise we do nothing."

Southampton are 7/5 to beat Crystal Palace on Wednesday and 9/1 to win the match 2-1.

Hasenhuttl prunes his squad

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has allowed Netherlands international Wesley Hoedt to join Celta Vigo on loan until the end of the season.

The La Liga side have the option to buy the central defender, who has made 13 appearances for Saints this season, in the summer.

Hoedt signed a five-year deal when he moved to St Mary's from Lazio in 2017 in a deal worth £15million.

Steven Davis and Manolo Gabbiadini have also left Southampton this month as Hasenhuttl revamps his squad.

The Austrian has guided Saints to back-to-back Premier League wins against Leicester City and Everton and is keen to maintain the winning habit when his team come up against Crystal Palace, Cardiff City and Burnley in their next three fixtures.

He said: "It's now a little bit of time to be happy about the two wins in a row and then stay hungry and go for the next. I know the players have the willingness to learn.

"I am very happy for them that they see with this kind of playing football and hard-working training sessions they get better every day.

"It's fantastic for them and fantastic for me as a manager."

Southampton can be backed at 1/40 not to be relegated this season while they are 13/10 to beat Crystal Palace in their next Premier League fixture on 30th January.

Hasenhuttl calls for Saints focus

Southampton head coach Ralph Hasenhuttl urged his players to focus on the job in hand in the Premier League, following their exit from the FA Cup.

The Saints lost 5-3 on penalties in a third-round replay against Derby County on Wednesday evening, with the top-flight outfit letting slip a two-goal lead during the game, just as they had done in the original tie in the East Midlands.

That left Hasenshuttl frustrated that his team had been unable to see the game out, while also warning that focus and concentration will need to be much improved on Saturday, when Everton are the visitors to St Mary's.

He told the Daily Echo: "It's a nightmare I think because we had again a big chance to be in the next round and gave it away.

"If you have two times a chance to win and don't do it then you don't deserve to be in the next round, so congratulations to Derby County.

"We have to concentrate on the Premier League now.

"We have to take time to recover very well, because on Saturday we have an important game here at home against Everton. We should be more concentrated in this game than we were here."

Southampton are currently just one point clear of the relegation places, having moved out of the bottom three thanks to a fine 2-1 win at Leicester City last time out.

The Saints are available at 8/1 to be relegated this season, while they are 1/12 to beat the drop.

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Gabbiadini returns to Italy

Ralph Hasenhuttl will turn his attention towards strengthening his Southampton squad after selling Manolo Gabbiadini to Sampdoria for £12million.

The 27-year-old Italian moved to St Mary's from Napoli in January 2017 for £14million and scored six goals in his first four games for the club.

However, it was downhill from then on for the striker who only scored one league goal for Saints this term.

In total he found the net 10 times in 51 Premier League games for the club, 5/1 to be relegated this season.

Hasenhuttl, who allowed Steven Davis to join Rangers earlier this week, said of Gabbiadini: "If you are a new manager at a new club you get the first impressions of the player and it seems to me he is a good player with fantastic technique but with this intensive pressing system we try to play, to be honest, it's not his way of playing.

"It was better to find a solution that good for both sides.

"I think it's a good step for him to go back to Italy and I wish him all the best. He's a fantastic player."

Of any potential new arrivals, the Austrian added: "We have problems with injuries among our forwards but we don't want to be hurried so we need to think about it and, if you are 100 per cent sure this guy makes us better, then take the decision."

Southampton are available at 10/3 to beat Leicester City on Saturday and 14/1 to win the match 2-1.

Hasenhuttl plans for changes

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has hinted that he could bring several new players to St Mary's in the January transfer window.

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Saints have only won three of their first 20 Premier League fixtures and Sunday's 3-1 home loss to Manchester City has left them above the relegation zone on goal difference.

Hasenhuttl made six changes to the team that had been beaten at home by West Ham United on Thursday and the Austrian says he now has a much clearer idea of where his squad needs strengthening.

The 51-year-old former RB Leipzig coach said: "I knew it from the beginning when I was coming here. I knew exactly what a brutal schedule is waiting for us in the first weeks.

"To prepare a new team, to know the new players, how they play and what they can do for you and that's an important part today to give players a chance. I saw them only for now just practicing and not under pressure in a Premier League game.

"If I want to make decisions in January about new transfers I need to know everyone in the team. Therefore, I need the impressions that I got and it's an important game for me."

Southampton, 5/1 to be relegated this season, are available at 10/1 to beat Chelsea on Wednesday and 9/1 to keep a clean sheet at Stamford Bridge.

Hasenhuttl expects City response

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl expects his side to have to put in a 'perfect performance' to get anything from their meeting with Manchester City.

The Citizens have dropped seven points off the Premier League title pace following defeats to Crystal Palace and Leicester City in their last two games, while the Saints picked up back-to-back wins over Arsenal and Huddersfield Town before losing out 2-1 to West Ham on Thursday evening.

However, Hasenhuttl is not expecting anything to come easy against the reigning champions of England when the two sides meet at St Mary's on Sunday afternoon.

The Austrian told reporters: "It's not normal for Manchester City to lose two times in a row. They also have a few injury problems, but there is so much quality in this squad.

"Maybe they lost a bit of self-confidence after being in the lead and losing two times, but we expect the most difficult challenge that is possible.

"If we want anything out of the game, then we need the perfect performance."

Saints can be backed at 9/2 to gain a draw against City, who are 1/3 to win the game and 1/1 to keep a clean sheet.

Meanwhile, Citizens forward Bernardo Silva has warned that he and his team-mates have to get back on track quickly so as not to lose even more ground to both leaders Liverpool and second-placed Tottenham Hotspur.

He added: "We are not playing as well as we want, we have to find an explanation. We have lost two games that we should not do if we are in a race for the title.

"It is mathematically possible – but we have to be almost perfect from now. We have to start winning games again, otherwise things will get complicated."

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Obafemi faces short lay-off

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has confirmed that Michael Obafemi will be out for a fortnight with the hamstring injury he sustained against West Ham.

He will miss Sunday's match at home to Manchester City as well as next week's game at Chelsea and the FA Cup third-round clash against Derby County.

Hasenhuttl was disappointed with his side's display against the Hammers particularly as the 2-1 home loss came after back-to-back victories over Arsenal and Huddersfield Town.

The Austrian said after the match: "I think we didn't have out best evening, too many players didn't perform like they did last week or the week before.

"Although they didn't we had a chance to win and that's the good thing from this evening. We didn't play our best game but we had a chance.

"It's a long journey until the end of the season and to save us in this division will take all the games we have. I guarantee we work until the end very hard and then we will see what we will get.

"It's a shame that Obafemi is out injured because I need him very much. We have a few injuries but that's normal at this part of the season."

Southampton, 7/1 to be relegated this season, are 10/1 to beat Manchester City on Sunday and 9/2 to draw with Pep Guardiola's team.

Saints benefit from confidence boost

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl says that he and the team go into the Christmas period benefitting from a confidence boost.

The Saints go into Saturday's crucial match at Huddersfield out of the bottom three courtesy of their win over Arsenal last weekend.

A late Charlie Austin goal earned them a 3-2 win, ending the Gunners 22-match unbeaten and giving the Saints badly needed impetus going into a hectic schedule over the festive period.

The game away at the Terriers is followed by fixtures against West Ham, Manchester City and Chelsea, three matches in seven days.

However, they go into that series of games on the back of a win and new boss Hasenhuttl is in no doubt of its significance.

At a press conference ahead of the trip to West Yorkshire, he said of the Arsenal win: "I think it helps us to put new stuff in the players' minds. It gives us a little hope for the future. We can see there is more light at the end of the tunnel.

"I think the way to get out of this situation we are in at the moment is a long one and I think the next game, against Huddersfield, is very important for us because we can send a strong signal to ourselves and also to the league that we are not leaning back, but stay working hard and focused on the first away win in a long time."

He added that the team will have every chance of gaining a second successive win if they show the same character, passion and mentality as they did against the Gunners.

They are 8/5 for the win on Saturday with David Wagner's team 21/10 and the draw 21/10.

Hasenhuttl is waiting on the fitness of several players before naming his squad for Saturday's game.

Midfielder Mario Lemina, Nathan Redmond, Jack Stephens, Cedric Soares Ryan Bertrand and Michael Obafemi are all doubts to face the Terriers.

Austin is 6/1 to be the first goalscorer on Saturday while the Saints are 9/2 to be relegated at the end of the season.

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‘Merciless’ Saints down Gunners

Ralph Hasenhuttl suggested Southampton had been rewarded for their hard work and persistence with a 3-2 win over Arsenal at St Mary's.

The home side twice led through headers from Danny Ings, but they were twice pegged back by Henrikh Mkhitaryan goals – the second just after half-time taking a wicked deflection to beat Alex McCarthy.

Ings had headed Matt Targett's cross home after 20 minutes only for Mkhitaryan to match it eight minutes later.

Southampton went back in front just before the break, Ings looping a fine header home from Nathan Redmond's cross.

It looked to be more frustration for them when Arsenal found a fortunate second equaliser but subs Shane Long and Charlie Austin combined with five minutes remaining to set up a massive Saints success.

Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno flopped at Long's cross, allowing Austin head into an unguarded net at the back post.

It gave Hasenhuttl his first victory in the Premier League at the second attempt and hoisted Southampton out of the relegation zone on goal difference.

He paid tribute to hard work done on the training ground.

"It's amazing what the team can do in a week. It was very intensive, we had time to work on the basics and built the fundamentals for our game," said the Saints boss.

"I'm very proud of how focused and uncompromising they were, and when they had the chances, how merciless they were.

"It was a fantastic atmosphere and a special feeling here to win the match."

Southampton are 7/5 to win a crucial battle with fellow strugglers Huddersfield next Saturday. The home side are 11/5 while the draw is 2/1.

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