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Ralph Hasenhuttl hopes Southampton can regain their stride after internationals

Aston Villa v Southampton – Premier League – Villa Park
(Image credit: Nick Potts)

Ralph Hasenhuttl is hopeful Southampton will benefit from waiting until Monday to face Wolves.

The Saints’ clash at Molineux is the final Premier League game of match day nine and the Austrian feels it should give them enough time to prevent a repeat of their last display after the October international break.

Southampton were slow out of the blocks at Stamford Bridge and were two down before they staged a second-half fight back to draw 3-3 with Chelsea – the only time they have failed to take maximum points from their last six matches.

Ahead of the clash with Wolves, Hasenhuttl said: “When lads are going to these internationals games, they play a different style of football and sometimes it takes a little bit until they get back in what we are doing here.

“Hopefully we can use the next two or three days to get in a good shape and be prepared for a tough game and to have a better start than after the last international break where the first 45 minutes were not a good one.”

James Ward-Prowse will be fit to captain the team after he returned to training following a hamstring injury, while full-back Ryan Bertrand is available after a thigh issue.

Top goalscorer Danny Ings remains out though with a knee injury, but is expected to be back in contention next month.

It was Ings who scored at Wolves last season to grab a point after a 1-1 draw, but Nuno Espirito Santo’s side clinched an impressive 3-2 success at St Mary’s in January.

Hasenhuttl added: “We had some good one or two halves against them where we really showed what we could do against them.

“They have good game management all the time so we need to be very disciplined with the ball and against the ball, especially have good counter-pressing.

“In modern football if you don’t perform in any part of your game, it is always difficult to win and especially for us.”

Meanwhile, the ex-Austria international expressed his support for academy players not being exposed to heading too early following renewed calls for more investigation into the link between football and dementia.

1966 World Cup winner Nobby Stiles died at the age of 78 last month having been diagnosed with dementia and prostate cancer while Sir Bobby Charlton has recently been diagnosed with dementia.

“I can only speak for my experience and I definitely took a lot of headers in my playing career,” Hasenhuttl explained.

“I was a centre forward and my biggest strength was to header and I know there are some brain cells dying from headers, definitely everybody knows this.

“I think to avoid dementia, I try always to work on my brain and build new brain cells if you want and new connections and this is always possible until you stay alive so you should work on this.

“For sure especially for young kids, we must pay attention and not do too much on this part.

“Even now you can see the ones that come out of the academy have a lack of quality with heading because they don’t do it so we must find a solution, maybe with different balls that are not so hard.

“Maybe this is easier to build the technique and not use it all the time in the sessions with the the most powerful shots on the head or whatever. There are some solutions and in the end it is about protecting them.”