The Athletic’s Dan Sheldon has stated that he was ‘surprised’ at Ralph Hasenhuttl’s decision not to start Nathan Tella in the club’s most recent game.
Having claimed a victory in midweek against Sheffield United in the Carabao Cup with a rotated side (albeit on penalties), some may have expected a few changes for the Premier League match against Wolves.
In particular, it seems that Sheldon believes Tella did enough in the cup match to warrant a start in the league. However, the 22-year-old was left on the bench as the Saints succumbed to a 1-0 defeat to Bruno Lage’s men.
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While talking about the decision on the Total Saints podcast, Sheldon expressed his confusion at Hasenhuttl’s decision to not start Tella.
He said: “What more could Nathan Tella have done against Sheffield United, and what more could [Nathan] Redmond not have done? Yet, we’re still in a situation where Nathan Tella is on the bench against Wolves. I was really surprised by that team selection, to be honest. What kind of message does that send to someone?
“I mean, [Ibrahima] Diallo, it’s a bit more difficult because he’s not going to really drop Prowsey, and Romeu, you’re probably not going to drop him.
“But Tella, I think, what more can Tella do? He set up a goal, looked lively the whole night until he was taken off against Sheffield. So, for me, I was surprised.”
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Indeed, Tella set up Mohammed Salisu’s goal against the Blades last week, the club’s second in the 2-2 draw. And when you consider just how poor Southampton have looked going forward this season – they have scored just four goals in six games so far in the league – it’s easy to think something needs to be changed.
With that in mind, it’s hardly like Tella’s competition are playing so well they simply don’t deserve to be dropped. It certainly seems as if Sheldon has journeyed along this train of thought. Perhaps Hasenhuttl will eventually arrive at the same conclusion, too.