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Dublin: 4°C Saturday 10 April 2021

'The best Michael we can imagine' - Southampton boss praises Irish teen Obafemi

The Ireland international scored as the Saints beat Chelsea on St Stephen’s Day, prompting Ralph Hasenhüttl to laud his display.

Michael Obafemi celebrates scoring against Chelsea.
Michael Obafemi celebrates scoring against Chelsea.
Image: EMPICS Sport

AFTER MICHAEL OBAFEMI’S goalscoring display in Southampton’s 2-0 win over Chelsea on Thursday, Ralph Hasenhuttl reserved praise for the youngster.

In addition to his goal, the 19-year-old Dublin-born striker put in a good all-round display in his 69 minutes on the pitch, producing moments of intelligent play and working hard off the ball. 

It was his second goal of the season in 10 appearances in all competitions — eight of which have been in the Premier League.

Yesterday though was just his third league start of the campaign, with first-choice striker Danny Ings rested amid the busy festive period.

Hasenhuttl had previously been critical of Obafemi. Last month, he accused the youngster of “lacking professional,” suggesting he has “a long way to go” in the game.

Yet after Thursday’s eye-catching performance, the Saints boss was full of praise for the Ireland international.

“Did I? Sorry for that; sorry for leaving the coaching zone,” the Saints boss told reporters, when informed that he had danced onto the pitch after the opening goal.

“But I was so happy, it was a fantastic goal for Michael. Not only the goal, but he was there to help the team. That’s the best Michael we can imagine.

“I think for us all it was a fantastic day, because we have to play again in two days.

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“So if you go out here and take three points it gives you a mental lift. Now the players will not be that tired. We’ve bounced back to our philosophy, in how to be brave and how to defend as a team.

“It’s about showing more responsibility for each player; being much more committed and much more aggressive.”

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