Ralph Hasenhuttl says Elyounoussi didn't need preseason after Celtic stint
Former Celtic loanee Mohamed Elyounoussi didn’t need a whole preseason to prepare for life in the Premier League, says Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Southampton aren’t exactly flying so far this season [Premier League], but that’s no fault of Elyounoussi’s. The Moroccan-born Norway international has scored 4 goals and set up 2 more in 7 outings for the Saints so far this season [Transfermarkt].
While many hoped Elyounoussi would stay at Celtic permanently, the attacker clearly wanted another chance to impress at Southampton. So far, so good, and he’s earned a rave review from manager Hasenhuttl.
The Saints boss said [Hampshire Live]:
“He is one of the positive stories of the season, definitely.
“I was very happy to get him back in the summer. I know that we had a lot of competition [in his position], a lot of duels with a lot of players – we have five number tens in my side so it is not so easy to get a spot in the eleven but I think he deserved to get there.
“In some moments you can see his fantastic anticipation, his decision-making, he is always surprising me and this is something special. We really need this in our game. It makes us a little more flexible in the attack.
“The plan was to bring him back and give him the whole pre-season but he didn’t need the whole pre-season, I saw immediately that he wants to work hard, he can run, he is putting in a massive effort in every game.”
Great to see Elyounoussi thriving in Premier League after productive Celtic spell
Above everything else, Elyounoussi always seemed a humble, likeable guy when he was playing for Celtic.
Of all the players who were affected by a lack of noise in 20-21, Elyounoussi seemed most disheartened. Not to say his second season was bad, far from it. But when the Celtic fans were on song and singing Elyounoussi’s praises, you can tell it meant something.
He’s said as much, describing his regret of not scoring against Rangers in front of the supporters.
Elyounoussi deserved another crack at the Premier League, though, and it’s right that he’s getting it. Ralph Hasenhuttl finally seems to understand the quality he has at his disposal. It’s not translating into a run of results yet, but he has production to come from the Norway international.
His return of 24 goals and 14 assists over two seasons at Celtic really is something special [Transfermarkt]. With Molde and FC Basel, too, he proved time and again that he can be a match-winner.
As Southampton look for some much-needed Premier League wins, they’ll surely turn to Elyounoussi. A man so determined and match-fit after his Celtic spell, that he needed barely any time to get going.