Hasenhuttl focused on Bournemouth as fans’ excitement builds for Portsmouth tie

The two south-coast rivals last met during April 2012.

By Press Association Published: 19 September 2019 - 2.45pm

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Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl will not prioritise beating rivals Portsmouth in the Carabao Cup over continuing Premier League momentum against Bournemouth.

The Austrian has been left in no doubt how much getting a result against Pompey means to supporters in what will be a first meeting since 2012.

However, Hasenhuttl maintains everyone’s focus must be on Friday night’s visit of Bournemouth when the Saints will look to build on their 1-0 win at Sheffield United.

“It is hard not to think about (the Portsmouth cup tie) because everywhere you come, the fans are telling you how important it is,” Hasenhuttl said.

“They can be sure we know it is an interesting game, but first we have to focus on the Premier League game against Bournemouth.

“What I can say is that I don’t think about any rotation to save a player for the Tuesday game, we have enough time between, then enough before the game against Tottenham.

“As always, we try to pick the best possible side for us. Every game is important and we try to win every one.”

Hasenhuttl confirmed forward Moussa Djenepo will miss Friday night’s match after again being troubled by a previous muscle problem.

The Mali international, a summer signing from Standard Liege, scored to give the Saints a 1-0 win at Bramall Lane last weekend.

Hasenhuttl hopes the 21-year-old will soon be back in action.

“He had the problem that he came very late after playing in Africa, but from the first moment he was here he showed some special qualities which can help our game, absolutely,” Hasenhuttl said at a press conference.

“He is a fantastic character, always positive and that is the problem at the moment, he is really down because he wants to help the team.

“He has shown in the few games he has played so far that he is a really good signing and a special player with special qualities. I hope I don’t have to miss him too long.”

Winger Nathan Redmond is training again following an ankle injury and could come into contention.

Hasenhuttl said: “Nathan could train this week with the team. This is a good message. How far he is and if he really can play tomorrow, I haven’t decided so far.”

Victory for either side would send them up into third place in the table.

“I expect a tough game from two teams who want to win,” Hasenhuttl said.

“We have to be very flexible against this opponent, it could be we have to change the shape a few times, but we know we have players on the pitch who can do this.”