Southampton are currently in the middle of being both close to the top half of the table but also close enough to get entangled in a relegation battle, as they sit in 13th place in the Premier League right now.
Ralph Hasenhuttl will be wanting to get much more comfortable in the Saints’ league campaign before Christmas as every point matters right now and every point earned takes them a step closer to a comfortable position with less pressure as the season goes on.
Southampton have the opportunity to pick up points on several occasions against teams in a similar position to themselves but also face Liverpool at Anfield this week and Arsenal at the Emirates in just over a fortnight. Both games will be testing for the side and they will be looking to break down their opponents early in the game.
One player who will be hoping to get his chance to make an impact in not only these more challenging fixtures, but the rest of the season in general, is Nathan Tella.
The 22-year-old was tipped to be a Saints regular, but for some reason has been out of favour in Hasenhuttl’s set up for the starting line up this season.
The manager opened about the youngster’s lack of opportunity to play in the team regularly this season but praised the “energetic” player;
“I am actually a little bit disappointed that I cannot give him more chances to play,”
“The games that we are playing at the moment are not so perfect for him, I think.
“I must say that, in the number ten position, he has a lot of good qualities. He is very energetic and he has a really good ability against the ball, running back and sprinting back.”
Southampton lost to bottom of the league, Norwich, last weekend which should have been, on paper, an easy win for the Saints, especially with the Canaries’ current record and lack of team consistency.
Alas, they beat the south coast side 2-1, and Hasenhuttl’s men went away with zero points to add to their attempt to push away from relegation conversations.
Tella’s energy and hunger for minutes, however, could be a boost to the Austrian’s current starting XI, especially ahead of Ibrahima Diallo who was used out of position on the right last time out.
Not only is that a reason to unleash him, but it will also enable the youngster to gain experience and confidence in the Premier League that could come extremely handy to the side in the latter stages of the season if they find themselves in trouble at that point.
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