Hasenhüttl grateful for more options


Ralph Hasenhüttl heads into Sunday's game against Burnley with some selection issues on his hands – and he is a happier man because of that.

Saints return to Premier League action for the first time in three weeks when they host Sean Dyche's side in a lunchtime kick-off, following a gap in their league schedule because of the FA Cup quarter-final win at Bournemouth and the subsequent international break.

That period has allowed players such as Danny Ings and Theo Walcott to return to fitness and full training, and with no major issues reported from those away on international duty, other than a small problem for James Ward-Prowse that Hasenhüttl is optimistic won't rule him out, the manager is pleased to have more options at his disposal than he has had in a very long time.

"Yes, it is maybe the first time on this weekend in a long time that I have some issues with sitting a few guys on the bench who normally deserve to play," said Hasenhüttl.

"It was the first time for really long, I think two or three months, that I have this issue now.

"To be honest, it feels better to have this issue than to have the other one, where you don't have anybody to play. This is definitely something that is good, that is helpful and it gives me more options."

Hasenhüttl added: "We had time to work with the guys, to train hard. The last two weeks have been good, everybody is fit, back. Prowsey is a little bit injured, but I think it's hopefully not a problem for the weekend and finally we have to be prepared."

While Hasenhüttl had a number of players away on international duty over the past two weeks, he still felt that Saints were able to use the time productively – both in terms of recharging some batteries and also the physical work on the training pitch.

And, with an opportunity to push towards safety as well as an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to a fortnight after Burnley, Hasenhüttl believes that energy will be important as he and his team aim for a potentially famous conclusion to the season.

"You don't have all the players around you, but the players who have been here got some interesting sessions I think, with some good challenges and competitions," he said.

"We used the time quite well, we had also a few days off so we could load up our batteries. It's also important for my staff that they get some days off. It was nice weather here on the south coast on Monday, Tuesday, so we could definitely recharge our batteries.

"Also, it's important to come back with more energy and then you can start working on the next challenges you have, and there are another two months to go and that means you have to take the chance for doing something big this season, and this is what everybody must know and should invest everything to achieve this."