(Reuters) - Southampton’s Danny Ings said he needed no extra motivation for Tuesday’s League Cup clash against south coast derby rivals Portsmouth as he struck a brace to give his team their first win at Fratton Park in 35 years.
Winchester-born Ings, released by Southampton as a schoolboy before returning last year, also helped to tee up Cedric Soares before Nathan Redmond swelled the scoreline in the first clash between two of English football’s fiercest rivals since 2012.
It was also the biggest away win in the fixture, taking the Saints to the fourth round of the competition and capping off a disappointing night for their League One (third-tier) rivals.
"For me to get the nod to play tonight, there was hunger in my belly straight away and being from the area I knew exactly how much it means to everybody in Southampton and the fans," Ings, 27, told Southampton's website here
“This fixture doesn’t come around every day so to come here and put on the performance we did... we couldn’t have done it without the fans so we have to thank them tonight.
“It’s a really special occasion for all of us as a club... to give back tonight the way we did under tough circumstances was very professional and a credit to us.”
Ings, who joined Southampton on an initial loan switch from Liverpool before making the move permanent in the close season, is no stranger to the high expectations and intensity in games between local rivals.
Having scored for Liverpool in the Merseyside derby against Everton as well as Burnley in the East Lancashire derby against Blackburn, Ings completed his set against Portsmouth.
“It was important that we gave everything in this game and we did that for everybody,” Ings added.
“These derby games can be like that where they try and get in your faces and try to intimidate you. The way we coped with that and didn’t react to certain tackles, I thought it was a professional performance,” Ings added.
“I thought they really dug in when the pressure was on us and the crowd was electric. So it was difficult and it’s a great night for all of us players, the coaching staff and the fans. It was huge and we knew that going into it.”
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty