Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has praised striker Danny Ings after a clinical season from the Englishman.
Ings has scored 21 goals this season in the Premier League and currently sits second in the race for the Golden Boot behind Leicester City frontman Jamie Vardy.
Hasenhuttl expressed his delight with Ings’ performances this campaign and said that his goal scoring record is even more impressive given that he is playing for the Saints.
‘It is definitely harder to score 20 goals for Southampton than for Liverpool or Manchester United or Chelsea or whoever,’ Hasenhuttl told Sky Sports.
‘So it is definitely big praise for him that he did it for us – a club that was struggling in the relegation zone for a long time.
‘That shows how good he is and how well he has done this season.’
Southampton are preparing to face Sheffield United on the final day of the season, whilst Vardy will lead the Foxes line against Manchester United as the two battle it out for the golden boot award.
Hasenhuttl took charge of Southampton back in December 2018 when Ings was on loan at St Mary’s Stadium. The 28-year-old scored a brace during his first game under the new boss, but then was hampered by injuries for the rest of the season.
Hasenhuttl had to wait a while to have his star striker fully fit and firing and he admitted that it took time for Ings to get used to his tactics.
‘You could see immediately his quality around the box,’ explained Hasenhuttl. ‘You could see immediately that he could score goals.
‘What you could also see was that he was not fit. I saw that he had the quality but he was always struggling after 60 minutes. That was his maximum at the beginning.
‘He had all these problems with muscle injuries and it took us quite a long time to bring him up to the level where he could go for 90 minutes. This was the biggest issue that I had with him – that he was not fit enough for my game.’
Ings has the most goals this season in the Premier League from open play – with all of his 21 strikes not coming from the penalty spot or a free-kick.
He has become a crucial member of the Southampton squad not just for his goals, however, but also for his work-rate in defending from the front.
Ings has been instrumental in Southampton’s remarkable turnaround this season after they were humiliated 9-0 by Leicester in October last year, which left them languishing in the relegation zone.
Ings’ form has hauled Southampton up to 12th in the Premier League heading into the final match of the campaign.