Gabbiadini ‘would’ve stayed at Southampton’ if it wasn’t for Hasenhuttl

Manolo Gabbiadini

Manolo Gabbiadini says he would have been happy to honour his contract at Southampton had it not been for the arrival of new manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.

The Italian striker returned to former club Sampdoria in January after making just one substitute appearance in the Premier League under the Austrian, who replaced Mark Hughes on December 5.

It ended a two-year spell in England for the 27-year-old, who arrived at St Mary’s from Napoli in January 2017 and scored 12 goals in 60 Saints appearances.

“I was happy in England and if something hadn’t happened with the new manager, I would have stayed for all five years,” he told Italian newspaper Il Secolo XIX.

“But football up there is different, more individual, made up of many one-on-one battles, while we’re used to a more collective game. There are pros and cons, it depends on your tastes.”

Gabbiadini insists he didn’t dwell long on the decision to return to his home country, but he leaves England with some treasured memories of his time on the south coast.

“The Premier League is a unique league,” he said. “It was a positive experience which allowed me to grow, and I would do it again, but it went so-so for me.

“What will stay with me? Several things. I scored twice in the 2017 League Cup Final and scored the goal that kept us up last season.

“Let’s say I was always there whenever I was needed most over the last two years and I still have a great relationship with their fans. They used to chant ‘Lamborghini-Gabbiadini’.

“When you leave somewhere, you don’t think about going back and just think about where you’re going next.

“However, I left Samp on very good terms and when the opportunity came up, I didn’t give it a moment’s thought.

“Physically I feel good. I haven’t played for over a month but there’s no winter break in England and I’ve kept training.”