October 17, 2019 / 1:54 PM / a month ago

Soccer-Injured Djenepo still working towards peak fitness, says Hasenhuettl

Oct 17 (Reuters) - Southampton winger Moussa Djenepo’s muscle injury is preventing him from shooting in training but the club are confident the Malian will fire on all cylinders by the end of the month, manager Ralph Hasenhuettl said on Thursday.

Djenepo, who joined Southampton from Belgian side Standard Liege in the close season, has been out of action since scoring the winning goal against Sheffield United in the Premier League last month.

The 21-year-old is out of Saturday’s league trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers but Hasenhuettl expects the player to return for back-to-back trips to Manchester City in the League Cup (Oct. 29) and the top-flight (Nov. 2) respectively.

“Moussa has no problems so far because he can run, sprint and pass the ball, but he still can’t shoot,” Hasenhuettl told a news conference on Thursday.

“That is still the most dangerous movement he can do, and we have tried to keep it away because if it’s hurting again then he can be out for longer.

“We must be very, very patient with him. He has a scan today and then we will know more. He isn’t available for the weekend. I am thinking he will be back for the Manchester City games. That’s the hope I have.”

The Saints have lost their last three league matches to Bournemouth, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, slipping to 17th in the league standings.

Facing another relegation battle this season, Southampton suffered a blow when Ross Wilson left his director of football operations role at St Mary’s to join Scottish giants rangers this week.

Hasenhuettl conceded Wilson’s departure was a “big loss” for Southampton but it will not alter their recruitment plans for the January transfer window.

“It was surprising for sure,” the Austrian coach said. “He goes to a famous club and has a new challenge, we wish him all the best. For us, it’s a big loss for sure.

“I think we have our plan and schedule about want we want to do with the players we want to look at. This is independent from Ross because we already know want we want to have for our game and the positions we need.” (Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru Editing by Toby Davis)

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