Hasenhuttl: Adams’ Saints starting spot under threat

Will Ford
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl during the Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 16, 2018. See PA story SOCCER Southampton. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is preparing to drop struggling forward Che Adams from his Premier League line-up following Danny Ings’ goal-scoring heroics in the south coast derby.

Adams has started each of Saints’ six top-flight games this term following a reported £15million move from Birmingham but is yet to find the net.

The 23-year-old’s summer arrival at St Mary’s has been partly responsible for Ings recently being relegated to a peripheral role under Hasenhuttl.

However, misfiring Adams attracted criticism from some Southampton fans following Tuesday’s crushing 4-0 Carabao Cup win at local rivals Portsmouth, while Ings gave a timely reminder to his manager with a first-half double at Fratton Park.



Hasenhuttl admits it is difficult to ignore Ings going into Saturday’s game at Tottenham and suggested Adams may now have to be patient in his quest to get off the mark.

“Like I always say, the best way to show up is good performances, scoring goals. Then the manager cannot look on other players, he must look on you, and that’s what he does in the moment and I’m happy for him,” Hasenhuttl said of Ings.

“He had a good pre-season without injuries, that was important for him. I think he’s physically in the best shape I’ve seen him.”

Referring to Adams, the Austrian added: “In the end, it’s about scoring and he had a lot of chances to play.

“And finally then when the others are scoring more then it’s maybe the moment when we change something and the other guy gets a chance. But that’s only for the moment.

“He could have more goals than so far but in the end I think he knows that there is, in the Premier League team, a lot of fight for these positions and the most important thing is that the team is successful.”

While Southampton were thrashing Pompey in midweek, weekend opponents Tottenham were embarrassed by Colchester.

Saints travel to north London with Mauricio Pochettino’s men suffering a mini-crisis following just one win in seven games in all competitions, including the shock penalty shoot-out loss to the League Two U’s.

Hasenhuttl expects Spurs to come out fighting and praised the work of under-fire boss Pochettino, who managed Saints between 2013 and 2014.

“Like a boxer when he is knocked a little bit, it’s maybe more dangerous so pay attention,” Hasenhuttl said of Spurs at his pre-match press conference.

“If you want to take points against such a team then it must be a nearly perfect performance and even then you are not sure.

“We are not scared about this game. We like to go there, new stadium, never played there before.”

Speaking about Pochettino, he added: “I think he did a fantastic job in Tottenham – from a really struggling team to Champions League finalist (last season).

“I think it’s unbelievable the job he does there but we don’t look too much on them. I think it’s important for us to concentrate on our qualities.”

Back-up Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy could be unavailable due to a muscle problem, which may mean a place on the bench for 21-year-old Harry Lewis, while winger Moussa Djenepo remains sidelined with a leg injury.