Saturday 21 September 2019

'He's a cool guy' - Ralph Hasenhuttl hails quality of Irish striker Michael Obafemi

Huddersfield 1 Southampton 3

Southampton's Michael Obafemi celebrates after the match Action Images via Reuters/Ed Sykes
Southampton's Michael Obafemi celebrates after the match Action Images via Reuters/Ed Sykes
Southampton striker Michael Obafemi celebrates scoring his first Premier League goal during the win over Huddersfield at the John Smith’s Stadium. Photo: Richard Sellers

Eleanor Crooks

Michael Obafemi became Southampton's youngest Premier League goalscorer as victory at the John Smith's Stadium lifted Saints three points clear of the Premier League's bottom three and ensured the club won back-to-back top-flight games for the first time since April.

The Republic of Ireland striker might have had a hat-trick in the 25 minutes he was on the pitch.

"His speed gives us a little bit more opportunity," said manager Ralph Hasenhuttl. "He had two or three more chances. "I'm happy for him. He's a cool guy, he has quality."

Obafemi told "It was surreal and I'm thankful to Redders for giving me the assist. I should have scored two or three more but I'm just delighted to have got my first goal.

"I wanted to get the previous chance out of my head straightaway because I knew myself it should have gone in the back of the net. I knew another one would come and I'm glad I put it away when it did.

"Just before I came on, the manager said to make sure I run and do the basics before anything else and the goal will come. All the lads on the bench were saying just show what I can do and that the rest would fall into place."

As against Arsenal last weekend, it was Southampton's threat in attack that stood out and they again found the net three times, with Nathan Redmond and a Danny Ings penalty putting the visitors two up at half-time and 18-year-old Obafemi wrapping up the points.

"I saw the intention from the first day to bring things on the pitch that we are talking about and what we try to teach them," Hasenhuttl added. "It was amazing that in these two games we shoot six goals. It shows me that we really have quality.

"I think the way we showed our football today was very impressive. A fantastic first half with scoring a fantastic first goal and always being very dangerous after winning the ball.

"We knew that in the second half Huddersfield would try everything to come back into the game and after the 2-1 you felt the pressure is rising and the crowd is coming. Our goal was to score the third goal because afterwards it's a little bit easier."

The emotions were very different for Huddersfield, who are four points off safety after slipping to a fifth consecutive defeat.

Philip Billing gave them hope by pulling a goal back in the 58th minute but, just when it looked like they might salvage something, a mistake from captain Christopher Schindler led to Southampton's third.

"It looked like recent results affected us, we looked nervous and in possession we were not calm enough. We rushed situations, we were not brave enough on the ball, we passed too often backwards," said manager David Wagner.

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