Hasenhuttl: Southampton in danger of becoming over-reliant on Ings
Ralph Hasenhuttl does not want Southampton to become over-reliant on the goals of in-form striker Danny Ings.
Top scorer Ings has claimed four of his side’s nine Premier League strikes this term, including their last three.
Ahead of Friday’s clash with third-placed Leicester, it is more than a month since another member of Saints’ squad found the net in the Premier League.
Manager Hasenhuttl is keen for other players to chip in and prevent his team becoming predictable, or vulnerable should Ings be unavailable.
“Normally I’m not only looking on one striker who scores for the team because it means when he’s out then you have a problem,” said Hasenhuttl.
“I would like to have three, four, five players that are always able to score and this is more important for the team normally.
“I’m not the manager who is really looking only on one guy who helps you because that means you are a little bit easier to read.
“It’s important that we also have other players that can score and we should bring them more in position where they can score.”
Ings played second fiddle to summer signing Che Adams earlier in the campaign but has firmly established himself as Saints’ first-choice striker in recent weeks after scoring twice in the south coast derby win at Portsmouth.
Hasenhuttl feels 27-year-old Ings, whose career has been blighted by injury, is reaping the rewards of improved fitness levels and making slight modifications to his game.
“In the moment he feels physically very well and he’s able to power 90 minutes, this is something he couldn’t do so far,” said Hasenhuttl.
“I think a good pre-season and the games in the last weeks have helped him massively.
“It’s always important for a striker if you can score. You can feel it in every session that he’s in the moment and has a lot of self-confidence in front of goal.
“This is a result of very hard work and also changing a few habits, taking less touches, running more deep, coming more in the position where he can score.
“I think he worked a lot on things we showed that he can do it better and maybe that’s why he scores now.”
Southampton host Brendan Rodgers’ high-flying Foxes having not won at St Mary’s since April.
Hasenhuttl accepts that a home victory is overdue and urged Saints to stick together to end the barren run.
“Wins are always important for the whole atmosphere of the club and the behaviour of the players,” said the Austrian.
“That’s the reason why it doesn’t feel perfect when you don’t win for a long time but we know that we can win Premier League games and, especially at home, we must show this.
“We have a good chance on Friday against a strong team but after the last game (a 1-1 draw at Wolves) with a better defensive performance we also have a chance to take this win against Leicester.
“We must be clear it’s time for a win at home, it’s time for our supporters, it’s time to show up as a whole club, that we are committed, that we are putting the atmosphere we have on the pitch and also on the stands.
“If you are working together then it must be difficult for the opponent to get something in our stadium.”
Saints remain without full-back Cedric Soares (calf) and winger Moussa Djenepo (hip).