Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl insists he has not lost faith in summer signing Che Adams and feels the forward can benefit from being dropped.
Adams, bought from Birmingham for a reported £15million, started each of Saints’ opening six Premier League games but failed to score and was omitted from Hasenhuttl’s squad at Tottenham last weekend.
The 23-year-old’s chances of reclaiming a starting spot have been hindered by the recent form of fellow striker Danny Ings, who followed up his double in the south coast derby win at Portsmouth with a goal against Spurs.
Hasenhuttl has been impressed with Adams’ response to being left out in north London and hinted at him being involved against Chelsea on Sunday.
“It was clear that I wanted to give him one time a rest,” said Hasenhuttl.
“I think a break can sometimes help, even if you like him are always looking for scoring and it doesn’t work.
“He showed this week that he is in better condition now, clearer in the mind and he can be an option for Sunday.
“It’s important that you stay working and believe in yourself. I try to help him as much as I can, give him a lot of trust and still trust him.
“I’m sure that he will help us in the future and games will come that he will score.
“In the moment it’s important that we have in the front a few other players that are scoring and that helps us massively.”
Full-back Cedric Soares was also absent for the 2-1 loss at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after pulling out injured in the warm-up.
The Portugal international has a calf problem and will remain unavailable when Frank Lampard’s Blues visit St Mary’s.
“He really tried to play against Tottenham – that was maybe not the best idea,” said Hasenhuttl.
“But he really wanted to help the team because he was in good shape and a chance to go back in the national (team) for Portugal.
“He really tried to do it against Tottenham and, after the warm-up, the problems he had have been too big and I think it will take until maybe the Wolverhampton game (on October 19) for him (to return).
“In the moment it’s not possible to play.”
Hasenhuttl has further injury concerns, with Moussa Djenepo sidelined for the foreseeable future due to a hip issue.
The Mali winger has scored twice in three top-flight games since his summer switch from Standard Liege but has not featured since claiming the winner at Sheffield United on September 14.
“Moussa is very difficult to say when he can play again. It’s a high risk at the moment,” said Hasenhuttl.
“When you have an injury on a muscle that you only need when you shoot the ball, then you don’t know if it’s OK when you don’t shoot.
“When is the moment you take the risk? This is the big question.
“He can do everything – running, passing the ball maybe inside or sprinting but when he shoots the ball we must pay attention because the tendon injury is something that can get worse.
“I would like him back as soon as possible and maybe after the international break it is a chance to train with the team.”
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