(Reuters) – Southampton have a fully fit squad to choose from when they play Everton in Saturday’s Premier League match with both winger Moussa Djenepo and defender Cedric Soares back from injuries, manager Ralph Hasenhuettl said on Thursday.
Djenepo, who scored two winners in Saints’ only wins this season, had been sidelined with a muscle injury since September before making his return in a six-minute cameo in the 2-1 loss at Manchester City last weekend.
Cedric also missed more than a month as he nursed a calf injury and his return gives Hasenhuettl plenty of options, with only left back Ryan Bertrand suspended after he was sent off in the 9-0 humbling by Leicester City last month.
“So far good, Moussa is back, Cedric is back,” Hasenhuettl told reporters. “They can train with the team.
“Moussa is one of the only guys who has scored important goals for us so far, so he’s a big option for the weekend. He gives our a game a new part, which we’ve missed. He can be a boost for us.
“We have all players on board now, so I have more options. Ryan Bertrand is still suspended but everyone else is fit.”
Southampton are 18th in the standings with eight points and the worst goal difference in the league (-17) and, barring a freak score line, will remain in the relegation zone even if they beat 17th-placed Everton who have 11 points.
“This is a six-point game,” the Austrian coach said. “Every game is important but they are right on the line… This is, for sure, an important game for them too.”
“We played against (most of) the top eight clubs so far. Now we’re playing fixtures against the bottom teams,” he added, referring to upcoming games against Watford, Norwich City and Newcastle United after they play Arsenal later this month.
Southampton are yet to win at home this season — with a draw and four defeats — and Hasenhuettl said it was up to the team to give the home fans something to cheer about when they face Everton.
“We don’t have to ask too much (of the fans), we have to deliver,” he said. “When we deliver, we can be sure they will help us.
“We have to show up and show a reaction at home and give them the feeling that we’re doing everything to win this game.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)