June 29, 2020 / 5:48 AM / 6 days ago

Saints' Hasenhuettl backs Ings to compete for golden boot

Premier League - Watford v Southampton - Vicarage Road, Watford, Britain - June 28, 2020 Southampton's Danny Ings celebrates scoring their second goal, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Adam Davy/Pool via REUTERS

(Reuters) - Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuettl has backed Danny Ings to overtake Jamie Vardy and win the golden boot this season after the striker netted a brace in Sunday’s 3-1 Premier League victory at Watford.

Ings glided past two Watford defenders and curled in a low effort in the 16th minute, before adding another in the second half to take his league tally for the season to 18 goals, one behind Leicester City’s Vardy.

Hasenhuettl said he would play the 27-year-old Ings in all their six remaining matches to help him finish as the league’s top scorer.

“I think everything’s possible,” Hasenhuettl told reporters.

“We will play with him in the last six games and that means he will have six games to score... if he gets a chance, you see how fantastic his finishing is at the moment.”

Hasenhuettl said Ings was reaping the benefits of working on his fitness during the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“He seems fitter than ever,” Hasenhuettl said.

“He was hardworking in the shutdown and that gives him fantastic physical options.”

Southampton, who are 13th in the standings with 40 points from 32 matches, take on Manchester City at home on Sunday.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln Feast.

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