Ralph Hasenhuttl BLASTS Jannik Verstergaard’s red card against Leicester as ‘simply wrong’

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl BLASTS Jannik Verstergaard’s red card against Leicester as ‘simply wrong’ and insists they WILL appeal decision… while hailing 10-man Saints for ‘brave’ performance

  • Southampton held high-flying Leicester City to a 1-1 draw on Fright evening  
  • The Saints were down a man after nine minutes with Jannik Vestergaard sent-off
  • The centre-back’s studs caught striker Jamie Vardy but he had got the ball first 
  • Hasenhuttl was furious with the decision and insists the Saints will appeal it  

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl said Jannik Vestergaard’s early red card in the 1-1 Premier League draw with high-flying Leicester was ‘absolutely the wrong decision’ and plans to appeal.

Saints were left facing an uphill task just 10 minutes in after defender Vestergaard was dismissed for a lunging challenge on Foxes striker Jamie Vardy on the edge of the hosts’ 18-yard box.

The Denmark international, who won the ball before catching Vardy with his studs as he followed through, was dismissed by referee Robert Jones following advice of VAR Jonathan Moss for denying his opponent a goal-scoring opportunity.

Southampton went down to 10 men early against Leicester, with Jannik Vestergaard sent-off 

The Danish defender took a heavy touch and lunged on Jamie Vardy, but did get the ball first

The Danish defender took a heavy touch and lunged on Jamie Vardy, but did get the ball first 

Battling Saints overcame the setback to lead through James Ward-Prowse’s 60th-minute penalty and held on for a draw which moves them 10 points clear of the relegation zone following Jonny Evans’ equaliser.

Hasenhuttl hailed the heroics of his players but was less enamoured with the officiating.

Asked if he was pleased with the result, the Austrian replied: ‘Absolutely; not delighted with the red card decision but very delighted with the performance from my fighting side.

‘The official explanation was denial of a clear goal-scoring opportunity. The goalkeeper was near the ball, he could pick it up. I think he (Vardy) would never get this ball. This explanation is simply wrong.

Ralph Hasenhuttl was furious about the decision but delighted as his side held on for a point

Ralph Hasenhuttl was furious about the decision but delighted as his side held on for a point 

The Saints defended superbly before James Ward-Prowse put them into the lead from the spot

The Saints defended superbly before James Ward-Prowse put them into the lead from the spot

‘I thought it was (going to be) a penalty and then it would be even more difficult but when you see the red card then you see that it was absolutely the wrong decision and we deserved to get something today.

‘Jon Moss has seen it, the VAR, and he says it’s a red card, although Vardy never had the ball. The denial of a clear goal-scoring opportunity is an argument that I cannot agree (with).’

Asked if he would appeal to prevent Vestergaard being suspended, Hassenhuttl replied: ‘Yes.’

Southampton had Ryan Bertrand sent off after 12 minutes the last time they hosted Leicester before collapsing to an embarrassing 9-0 drubbing.

The south-coast side look to have secured their safety after a difficult top-flight season

The south-coast side look to have secured their safety after a difficult top-flight season 

They were far more resilient on this occasion and, after Evans’ header swiftly cancelled out Ward-Prowse’s spot-kick, defended doggedly to avoid a 13th defeat from their last 16 top-flight outings.

‘It was an important signal that we can defend better than we have in the past when we were one man down and that we have a good start in the final six games (of the season),’ said Hasenhuttl.

‘It was a brave performance.’

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Jamie Redknapp slams the officials for sending off Southampton’s Jannik Vestergaard versus Leicester

‘It is ruining football… these decisions’: Jamie Redknapp slams the officials  for sending off Southampton defender Jannik Vestergaard for early lunge on Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy

  • Jannik Vestergaard was sent off early on for Southampton against Leicester City 
  • The Danish defender made an early lunge on Foxes striker Jamie Vardy 
  • Vestergaard caught the ball but the follow-through came into contact with Vardy
  • Jamie Redknapp claims the officials are ‘ruining football’ with these decisions 

Jamie Redknapp claims the officials made yet another mistake in sending off Southampton’s Jannik Vestergaard early on against Leicester on Friday night.

The Saints centre-back was adjudged to have caught Jamie Vardy high on the leg when he was last man after misjudging a back pass, even though the Dane got a piece of the ball before catching the Foxes striker. 

Referee Robert Jones brandished a red card to Vestergaard but Redknapp claimed the challenge was not even worthy of a free-kick, let alone a sending off.

Jamie Redknapp claimed Southampton’s Jannik Vestergaard should not have been sent off against Leicester on Friday night

Vestergaard was dismissed early on for a lunging challenge on Foxes forward Jamie Vardy

Vestergaard was dismissed early on for a lunging challenge on Foxes forward Jamie Vardy

The Sky Sports pundit compared the decision to West Ham defender Fabian Balbuena’s red card against Chelsea last week, who was dismissed for catching Ben Chilwell high after clearing the ball.

Redknapp told Sky on Friday night: ‘I don’t think it is a foul, there is gonna be follow through, look at Balbuena last week. 

‘He gets him on ankle, but that is the follow through. It is a contact sport, it is not a foul. 

Vestergaard got the ball before colliding with Vardy but he then caught the striker high up

Vestergaard got the ball before colliding with Vardy but he then caught the striker high up

Redknapp says the follow-through should not be deemed a foul and the call is 'ruining football'

Redknapp says the follow-through should not be deemed a foul and the call is ‘ruining football’

‘Even if it is, it is not 100 per cent Vardy is gonna get there. It is a clear and obvious error. I think all the players were bemused with it. 

‘We have to kick back with reality, it is ruining football, these decisions.’

Fellow Sky Sports pundit Darren Bent agreed that Vestergaard was ‘unlucky’ to be given his marching orders as it was simply the momentum of the original challenge that took him through Vardy. 

Robert Jones (left) took little time to brandish the sending off for the Southampton defender

Robert Jones (left) took little time to brandish the sending off for the Southampton defender

Darren Bent agreed with Redknapp that the decision to send Vestergaard off was incorrect

Darren Bent agreed with Redknapp that the decision to send Vestergaard off was incorrect

Bent added: ‘It is 100 per cent not (a foul), he (Vestergaard) lunges in that direction, the momentum takes him through. 

‘It is not a foul. I can understand if he gets nowhere near the ball, but he has clearly won it. It was unfortunate to send him off. No way is it a red card at all.’

Leicester came into the game looking to strengthen their place in the top-four, while 14th-placed Southampton were aiming to move 12 points clear of the relegation zone with a victory.  

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Leicester fear missing out on Champions League AGAIN due to Chelsea and Arsenal’s progress in Europe

Leicester fear missing out on the Champions League AGAIN even if they finish in the top four… with Chelsea and Arsenal’s progress in Europe complicating the number of English clubs who can qualify next season

  • Leicester are concerned they could miss out on the Champions League again  
  • Chelsea and Arsenal’s progress in the competition could complicate matters 
  • Brendan Rodgers’ side are currently third and on course to make the top four
  • But if they finish fourth they could suffer heartbreak for a second season running

Leicester fear suffering Champions League heartbreak for a second successive season even if they manage to finish in the top four.

The third-placed Foxes can move 10 points clear of fifth-placed West Ham if they win at Southampton on Friday, which would leave them within touching distance of a Champions League place under normal circumstances.

Yet the success of English clubs in Europe this season complicates the issue. If Chelsea win the Champions League and Arsenal the Europa League, and both finish outside the top four, then fourth place would be good enough only for a Europa League spot.

Leicester City fear missing out on the Champions League even if they finish in the top four

UEFA allow a maximum of five clubs from the same country in the Champions League and grant automatic entry to the holders and Europa League winners.

Last season, Leicester spent virtually the entire campaign in the top four before their poor form post-lockdown meant they were squeezed into fifth on the final day, when they were beaten by Manchester United.

It would be a cruel end to an outstanding season for Leicester if only a top-three finish were good enough. They have also reached their first FA Cup Final since 1969 and, in Kelechi Iheanacho, they have a striker in the form of his life.

The Nigerian has scored 14 times in his last 14 matches and struck the winner in Monday’s 2-1 win over Crystal Palace, when Leicester fought back from a goal down. Brendan Rodgers’ team also have happy memories of St Mary’s after winning 9-0 there on their last visit in October 2019.

Iheanacho struggled for rhythm after joining Leicester from Manchester City for £25million in 2017 but those difficulties are now behind him.

If Chelsea win the Champions League and Arsenal win the Europa League - but both finish outside the top four - fourth spot would only be good enough for a place in the Europa League

If Chelsea win the Champions League and Arsenal win the Europa League – but both finish outside the top four – fourth spot would only be good enough for a place in the Europa League 

Rodgers said: ‘Even before I came here, they were moans and groans when he came onto the pitch. But I don’t think there are any now.

‘He’s a big talent and came here for a large price tag – and maybe just didn’t have quite the opportunities. That’s natural when you have one of Europe’s top strikers (Jamie Vardy) in front of him.

‘It’s difficult. But you have to tip your hat to his mental toughness. That’s one of the things that’s right up the top for me in an ideal footballer.’

Rodgers praised striker Kelechi Iheanacho for his excellent recent form in front of goal

Rodgers praised striker Kelechi Iheanacho for his excellent recent form in front of goal

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Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl fears star striker Danny Ings won’t play again this season

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl fears star striker Danny Ings won’t play again this season due to a hamstring injury as England ace faces race against the clock to get fit for Euro 2020

  • Hasenhuttl admits he doesn’t know if Danny Ings will play again this season
  • Southampton’s star striker picked up a hamstring problem against Tottenham
  • The 28-year-old is yet to return to training and is a doubt for this summer’s Euros
  • Ings’ fine form has put him in contention to make Southgate’s England squad 

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl does not know whether influential top scorer Danny Ings will play again this season, making him a major doubt for this summer’s Euros.

Ings was forced off by a hamstring problem in last week’s 2-1 defeat by Tottenham after scoring his 10th Premier League goal of the campaign.

The 28-year-old England international has not returned to training and will definitely be absent for Friday evening’s game at home to Leicester.

Ings pulled up with a hamstring injury during the club's 2-1 defeat by Tottenham last week

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl (left) has admitted that he doesn’t know if Danny Ings (right) will play again this season after he picked up a hamstring injury last week

‘It (Ings’ injury) is not worse than it looked; I don’t know if he comes back for the last few games (of the season),’ Hasenhuttl said.

‘We have Liverpool and then five games in two weeks so we need every player.’

His fine form up front for the Saints has put him into contention for a place in Gareth Southgate’s 26-man squad.

However, should he fail to recover in time, Ings will cruelly have to watch the tournament from the comfort of his own home.

Ings scored his 10th Premier League goal of the season in the 2-1 defeat by Tottenham

Ings scored his 10th Premier League goal of the season in the 2-1 defeat by Tottenham

However, he pulled up with the hamstring issue not long after and was subbed off

However, he pulled up with the hamstring issue not long after and was subbed off

Before pulling up with a hamstring injury at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Hasenhuttl told Ings to ‘forget about making the England squad’ and instead focus on turning Southampton’s season around. 

‘This is always my job, to bring the best out of every player,’ the Saints boss said earlier this month. ‘If he has a (place in the) Euros or not, he is part of this club.

‘He has a contract with this club, so that contract means he has to do everything and just to help us, this is the deal we made. I don’t care about the mentality for the Euros – this is something like a bonus for him.

‘The most important thing is that he helps us win games, that he helps us in climbing the table. This is the deal we have with him, and so long as he is here, he tries to give his part to this deal and we give our part of the deal.

Ings is running out of time to force his way into Southgate's thinking before Euro 2020 in June

Ings is running out of time to force his way into Southgate’s thinking before Euro 2020 in June 

‘We offer him everything that is possible to make him better – and this is how it should be with every player.’

But Hasenhuttl feels Ings has all the qualities needed to make Southgate’s final 23-man cut.

‘Ingsy is definitely one of them (players in contention) and when he is fit, when he plays well and when he scores, then he must be part of this (England squad),’ Hasenhuttl added.

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