Hasenhüttl's Brighton press conference round-up

By SFC Media Thu 28 Mar Brighton v Saints
Photo by Matt Watson | Ralph Hasenhüttl

We bring you the key points from Ralph Hasenhüttl's morning press conference, as the Saints boss discusses this weekend's Premier League meeting with Brighton and the impact of a three-week break in fixtures.

On Shane Long...

"Shane Long is the only guy who isn’t fit. He was coming in the weekend without a game with Ireland and today is his first time training with the team. Before that he was recovering, and we'll have a look."

On Danny Ings...

"Danny trained for two weeks now with the first team. Last week we had a friendly game against QPR and he played 45 minutes without any problems. I'm not sure if he is an option for the starting XI, we will see, but I am happy he is back in training.

"He is important and that’s why we gave him all the time he needs to come fit again. It is important for the team he is back in training.

"He has quality as one of the strikers who can score and he is flexible in his kind of play. It’s important that he is back."

Danny Ings competes for the ball in a recent friendly with QPR at Staplewood Campus

On the break in fixtures...

"It’s hard to say if it was the wrong time. We will know after Saturday. I'm not used to having a three-week break in March, so it is absolutely new for me. The international break is the same, but the game before that (the visit to Watford was postponed due to the FA Cup) I would like to have played, but we didn’t.

"We had to try and keep the motivation high for three weeks without a game at the weekend. We've tried to put a few things in training that we wanted to work on. The guys have been good and motivated, even though it is a different stress situation during the week. I am happy the game is coming at the weekend.

"It’s time to come to the last eight games, an important eight games. We used the time for good training sessions but now it’s important to get back to the games."

On the benefit of a three-week break...

"Yes, but in this time of the season it is not important to train so much because there is only eight games to go. The players are looking back on a long season so far and it’s about a good balance between recovery and training sessions and getting sharp for the last games and also mentally sharp.

"That was the biggest challenge we faced in this three weeks and knowing what the last weeks are about because these games are all very important now."

On the Brighton clash...

"We should focus always on the next game and, like the weeks before, we knew there were difficult games coming up. It is a similar situation to the period where we faced three opponents near us in the table. Brighton is three points ahead and with a win you can come very tight to them.

"It is a six-point game for sure and can be a big step, and also to take a point could be an important one for us. The last two away games, against Arsenal and Man United, we played a good game without points.

"It would not be the worst thing to play not so good and take points. We are focusing on going there with a good match plan and to take points."

On the points tally needed to stay in the Premier League...

"It is possible, but the most important thing is not to go to the last two games needing wins to stay in. It’s a horrible situation nobody wants. If we get 40 it’s perfect. If we don’t and 36 is enough that’s nice. We are targeting 40 points and we need three wins and one draw and the sooner we get these points the better."

On the impact of gaming...

"I was against this at my last club. Players were playing until 3am the night before a game. You have to be active and to protect them.

"It is not a small problem. If you are honest it is the same as alcoholism or getting addicted to drugs. It is something you get addicted to and that means you have to protect the players and it’s something we have to do as a club and to protect them means to help them not to spend so much time on it.

"As long as from the government it is not officially an illness we have to protect in our way. If it was an illness then it would be easy to say to the companies maybe you have to give a block after three hours, for example, so they can’t play this game any more.

"Otherwise you see we block the wifi in the hotel for the evening so they can’t play anymore. I will be active always in this direction. My point is I have to protect them and to protect them not on the pitch only, but also outside the pitch, and that means 24 hours I have to look at them and that’s what I will do."

On whether he's faced issues with gaming at Saints...

"My own squad at the moment, no. But you can be sure I am always in contact with my captain and a few players. Social media is also the same and there are chances to cut it after a few hours and that would sometimes be necessary. It is part of our community and the present and we have to face it and sometimes to protect the players we have to help."

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