Hasenhuttl says Ings is in the best condition of his career following previous injuries
By Greg Grimes
Last Updated: 03/07/20 5:50pm
Ralph Hasenhuttl admits Southampton were lucky to sign a striker like Danny Ings, especially for just £20m last summer.
The price was pre-agreed with Liverpool following a season-long loan and Ings is paying back every penny as he closes in on Jamie Vardy and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the top of the Premier League goalscoring charts.
His 17th and 18th goals of the season against Watford moved him to within just one goal of top spot with six games to go and the Golden Boot at stake.
Hasenhuttl realises the coup his club pulled off to get the 27-year-old to the south coast from Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.
“For us, it would maybe not even be possible for us to get such a striker,” he said.
“As with every transfer, there is always a risk if you spend a lot of money, especially for a club like us. We know the bullets we have must find a target because we don’t have so much.”
Ings has featured in every one of Southampton’s league matches this season, 26 of his appearances from the start.
Hasenhuttl believes the striker is in the best condition of his career following two serious knee injuries which affected his career at Anfield.
“It was important for him that he stays fit,” the Austrian added. “This was always the biggest question we had about him.
“He had a long history of injuries, he was never as fit as he is at the moment.
“Hopefully it stays like this and then we will have the future with Danny Ings as a striker who is definitely finding the goal and also working hard for the team.”
Although Ings was injured for more than 20 months during his three-year career at Liverpool, Hasenhuttl believes the experience has made him a better player.
Traits he learned under Klopp more than suit the Southampton boss who is also encouraging his team to play a pressing game.
Hasenhuttl said: “I think Danny has this hunting and working against the ball that he learned from Liverpool. They are also a pressing team and work very much on winning balls in the opposition half.
“He knows that this is necessary for him to work like he did there. It is a bit different to Che (Adams) or to Shane (Long).
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“At the beginning of the season, the reason why he didn’t play was more about the shape we used in that moment. We used a back five. We changed completely our behaviour and came back to what fits us the most. Finally, the success shows that it is the right decision to take.
“Longy is an older player but he really worked hard to adapt to this new style of pressing.
“This is our identity and our philosophy that should make us successful.”