After two consecutive seasons of fighting for survival, how does Ralph Hasenhuttl take this Southampton side away from the danger zone?
For one former Saint, the answer lies in two attacking players: Nathan Redmond and Danny Ings.
“Players like Redmond have kicked on this year. I think he flattered to deceive, but now he’s got goals and end product to his game,” Nicky Banger told the Daily Echo. “He looks like a very, very key player.
“I think if we can keep Ings fitter and play him a little bit more then we can start to build around the squad.”
If Southampton are to climb the table next season, then Redmond will have to deliver. In Banger’s words, the 25-year-old is a key player, a key player who is starting to express himself fully now that Ralph Hasenhuttl is at the helm.
Under Mauricio Pellegrino and Mark Hughes, he looked really restricted. Back in the 2017/18 Premier League season, the England international was making 1.8 dribbles per game, whereas in the last campaign he was able to make 2.4 (as per WhoScored).
Undoubtedly, in attack, Hasenhuttl has given Redmond more freedom and he is now flourishing, scoring six goals following a term where he managed just one.
Based on that, the former Norwich City man will surely have a role to play if Southampton are to have a successful 2019/20 season.
As for Ings, while he certainly has the backing of Banger, no one would be surprised if the 26-year-old was unable to make a similar impact given his injury record. He spent a lot of time in the stands last campaign and, ultimately, does not look like the sort of No.9 you can rely on.
After contrasting seasons, while Redmond looks like he could be the protagonist for the Saints going forward, the jury is still arguably out on Ings.