The Southampton’s boss comments- “On the ball, Jan is a little bit calmer than Salisu in some moments”- reveal Mohammed Salisu is too strong while he Ralph Hasenhuttl needed someone who is calm on the ball against Manchester City last Saturday.
In light, the manager opted for Jan Bednarek who returned to the starting XI to partner Jack Stephens in central defense as Salisu was dropped.
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl decided to leave defender Mohammed Salisu on the bench against Manchester City, despite being one of the club’s very best performers during the opening four games of the campaign.
Southampton are set for something of a centre-back reshuffle as the battle to start in defence for Ralph Hasenhuttl intensifies.
The Austrian manager surprised supporters on Saturday when he left Mohammed Salisu, one of the club’s star performers of their opening four fixtures, on the bench against Manchester City at the Ittihad Stadium.
That omission saw one of Hasenhuttl’s most trusted players from last term, Jan Bednarek, return to the side to partner Jack Stephens.
It was the first time this season that Southampton had starting with anything other than Stephens and Salisu as their centre-back pairing and, thanks to a fine performance. Bednarek has now sent something of a message to his manager as he looks to regain a permanent spot in the side.
His return to form may have come at the perfect time for Hasenhuttl who is currently facing an anxious wait over an injury picked up by Stephens against City that could rule him out of the club’s upcoming Premier League fixtures.
At present, it is not known how serious the defender’s injury blow is with a further update expected soon, but it appears unlikely that he will play a part during Tuesday night’s clash with Sheffield United.
Stephens’ injury blow, coupled with the rise of Brazilian summer signing Lyanco, could spark something of a defensive reshuffle for Saints with the midweek trip to Bramall Lane offering Hasenhuttl with the perfect opportunity to try something new.
But, as ever, the manager will be looking to pick a centre-back pairing that he feels will be most effective against the opposition, even if that goes against picking what he considers to be his very best pairing.
“I said in the press conference during the week that it is not always the first choice who plays, it is more about who we need,” he has explained, speaking ahead of this week’s EFL cup clash.
“On the ball, Jan is a little bit calmer than Salisu in some moments, but Salisu is also on a good way and you could see how strong he was when he came on.
“I felt that it fit a little bit better [with Bednarek alongside Stephens] and that is the reason why I gave him the chance to play and I think he did well.”
Lyanco, meanwhile, is not expected to play a part in the Premier League just yet but could find himself in the mix on Tuesday night.
The Brazilian is considered to be a long-term project for Southampton and a player for the future, not necessarily the present.