Hasenhüttl: Returning players give us more flexibility


Ralph Hasenhüttl is hopeful of having a greater degree of flexibility in his gameplan at Newcastle United, with Jan Bednarek available after his red card at Manchester United was overturned on appeal and other players potentially returning from injury.

The number of players on the sideline have been piling up in recent weeks for Hasenhüttl, both through injury and suspension, culminating in a bare-bones squad that went to Old Trafford on Tuesday night, where Saints experienced a grim night, seeing two players sent off on the way to a 9-0 defeat.

But the outlook is brighter heading into this weekend, especially after an independent regulatory panel at the Football Association agreed with the club's assertion that Bednarek's dismissal, for a supposed foul on Anthony Martial, should not stand, meaning the one-game ban he was due to serve this weekend was wiped out.

Hasenhüttl was certainly a happy man on hearing the news, with the added boost that fellow centre-back Jannik Vestergaard could also be available.

"Jan is an absolutely important player for us – he's really a fighter, and maybe with Jannik also back after a long injury it gives more opportunities," he said.

"Hopefully Kyle [Walker-Peters] can also be part of the weekend, although I think it's a little bit more risky to have him back. We must really, like always, decide whether to take the risk or don't take it, it's always like this, and then finally find the best possible team and be more competitive.

"In the moment we can't train very much because we have no time to do it. It's more about recovering.

"You know about the problems we have with injuries, and we must be very careful in the moment, but a few guys were out there [on Thursday] and a few guys will come back after injuries hopefully for the weekend.

"That gives us a little bit of a hope that we have more alternatives, and that helps us to have a better gameplan and a more flexible one, with a chance to react if something doesn't work.

"In the last games it was very difficult to react for everything that happens on the pitch, and this gives us more flexibility and finally this is what we need to win games against strong sides. In the Premier League there are only strong sides around.

"Then we go there to a ground where we haven't won since I'm here. Against Newcastle we won at home for the first time this season and this was good and we must show again a good performance there and hopefully with three points."