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Ralph Hasenhuttl happy with Southampton’s squad strength after quiet window

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Southampton – Premier League – Molineux Stadium
(Image credit: Bradley Collyer)

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl admits it feels strange to find his squad fully intact after the January transfer window, but knows everyone will be needed for the challenges ahead.

Unlike the summer where Danny Ings and Jannik Vestergaard left before the deadline, Saints did not see their ranks depleted.

According to reports, the club’s new owners fended off interest from Newcastle in defender Mohammed Salisu for a deal which could have been worth around £40million.

Hasenhuttl would not be drawn on specifics but is glad everyone remains on board as Southampton prepare for Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie against Coventry and then successive Premier League away games at Tottenham and Manchester United.

“At the moment we have a very good balanced squad, with nobody leaving in the winter or wanting to leave,” Hasenhuttl said.

“I think it is a strange situation. Everybody feels he is needed here and gets the chance to play.

“For us it is important we handle the situation and have a bigger squad this season and because we had this bigger squad, then we don’t have to do anything in the winter (window) now.”

The Saints boss added: “No player wanted to leave this club in the winter (window), and if (they did), we would definitely say no to everything because we will not give our players in the winter a chance to leave because we really need them here.”

Goalkeeper Alex McCarthy has suffered a setback in his recovery from a thigh problem, which Hasenhuttl feels will take a few more weeks to fully assess.

Defender Tino Livramento and midfielder Will Smallbone are back in training and will be available for the cup tie against the Sky Blues.

Forward Shane Long, who scored in the third-round win at Swansea, is likely to feature again, while Mali winger Moussa Djenepo is back from the Africa Cup of Nations.

“Even if we do make a lot of changes or a few, we have a very, very balanced squad at the moment, so I don’t see the big difference,” Hasenhuttl said.

“We have 22 players nearly on one level and this is a very good opportunity for me to give everybody a chance.

“How many changes we will make we will see, but we have to look for the other games also, that’s for sure.”

Southampton went into the Premier League break on the back of holding leaders Manchester City to a 1-1 draw at St Mary’s.

Hasenhuttl said: “It is not in our mind any more, but it is good we showed in that game we are able to hurt them a little bit and to take something that is good for the whole team, for the mentality.

“We now have some tough fixtures coming up – Coventry, Tottenham and Manchester United – so we need every player.”

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