Ralph Hasenhuttl says Moussa Djenepo’s goalscoring is better than his singing after the £14million winger made a remarkable impact to set Southampton on course to their first points of the season.
Substitute Djenepo, a summer signing from Standard Liege, had been on the pitch for just 78 seconds when he bent home the opening goal of the 2-0 win at 10-man Brighton.
The Mali international’s maiden Premier League strike came a day after he sang in front of Saints’ squad as part of an initiation.
While manager Hasenhuttl was not impressed with the 21-year-old’s vocal performance, he was delighted with his prompt contribution on the field.
“First touch, a goal, it’s unbelievable,” said Hasenhuttl.
“Yesterday after dinner he had to sing for the team and he did it in an interesting way.
“I think his scoring is better than his singing. But I like this guy, he’s always positive and the team also likes him and when he has such an impact in the game it’s important for us.
“I think it was 30 seconds (78) he was on the pitch and first touch it’s a goal.
“He has still a lot of things to learn, the good thing for me is that he’s very open minded and tries to do everything we tell him to do.”
Asked which song Djenepo performed, Hasenhuttl replied: “I cannot tell you because it wasn’t really clear for me.”
Djenepo, who made his debut off the bench against Liverpool last weekend, replaced Yan Valery in the 53rd minute at the Amex Stadium and quickly broke the deadlock.
Brighton were down to 10 men at that point after Florin Andone was sent off for a reckless tackle on Valery, while Lewis Dunk had a goal chalked off for offside following a VAR review.
Southampton, who began the season with successive defeats to Burnley and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, wrapped up the win in added time thanks to Nathan Redmond’s tap in from a Sofiane Boufal centre.
Speaking about the 30th-minute sending off, Hasenhuttl said: “I think the red card was no question for me. It was clear. I am happy that Yan Valery is not injured.
“It looks very horrible.”
Brighton boss Graham Potter, who suffered the first defeat of his reign, had no complaints about Andone’s dismissal and said the player had apologised.
“It’s a straight red when you watch it back,” said Potter.
“It was over the other side of the pitch from me and at ground level you can’t see it totally.
“You always worry when there’s a forward trying to go over the top of the ball to protect the ball but, at the same time, there’s a defender’s leg there.
“We can’t defend that type of challenge, Florin doesn’t mean to do it but still it’s not a good challenge and apologies to Southampton.
“He knows it was a bad challenge. He’s apologised. He didn’t mean to do it but at the same time it was one of those actions that’s not good. He’s honest enough to know that.”
Seven minutes after the red card, Brighton’s fans endured further frustration when Dunk’s header from a corner was chalked off.
Referee Kevin Friend consulted VAR and replays confirmed Dan Burn, who was next to Saints goalkeeper Angus Gunn, was offside.
“I think the goal is offside so, if it’s offside, it’s offside,” said Potter.
“As soon as VAR goes up, everyone gets tense in the arena.
“But I wouldn’t want that to detract from the effort the players put into the game.”
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