Friday 24 January 2020

Footage of 9-0 drubbing fuels Saints' turnaround

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl. Photo: Andrew Boyers/Action Images via Reuters
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl. Photo: Andrew Boyers/Action Images via Reuters

John Percy

It was around 15 minutes to kick-off when Ralph Hasenhuttl addressed his players in the dressing room, instructing them to watch a specially-prepared montage.

The 9-0 hammering by Leicester in October had been barely discussed in the days leading up to Saturday's revenge mission but here was a reminder of that dark Friday evening, plus the resurgence that has followed.

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After Southampton's 2-1 win, midfielder James Ward-Prowse said: "We watched a motivational video of what happened and what we've done differently since. You could see everybody was focused and we wanted to make sure we came into the dressing room with a different feeling to last time.

"It's a massive win because that (9-0 defeat) for us was the lowest point of our careers, so we're delighted to overturn it."

Southampton have now secured six wins from the past nine matches and their resurgence has been one of the stories of the season.

Danny Ings is the man driving it with 16 goals in all competitions. Ings was a constant threat and before his winner he had seen two shots saved by Kasper Schmeichel and struck the crossbar twice.

The clamour for an England recall is growing, especially with the injury to Harry Kane, and Ings appears nailed on to return.

Brendan Rodgers is acutely aware of Ings's abilities having signed him for Liverpool in June 2015.

"Danny has always been an outstanding player," said the Leicester manager. "He just needs to keep the consistency and availability and he'll show he's one of the best strikers about. There's no doubt about him playing for England."

Saturday's victory was the first time Southampton had won away after being behind under Hasenhuttl, offering further evidence of their character.

It was Leicester's eighth game in 25 days and, as Rodgers admitted, perhaps "a game too far".

Youri Tielemans, the £32million record signing, was rested due to poor form, while other players, including Ben Chilwell and Harvey Barnes, have struggled recently after impressing in the first half of the season.

But Leicester will also reflect on the absence of midfield warrior Wilfred Ndidi, who could miss up to four weeks with a knee injury.

Ndidi breaks up play and protects the back four in unsung style. He was badly missed, despite the obvious potential of his replacement Hamza Choudhury.

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

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