Ralph Hassenhuttl praised loanee Takumi Minamino after a fine display in the defeat to Newcastle

Southampton boss Ralph Hassenhuttl has praised the impact of Takumi Minamino, after the Japan international turned in an eye-catching performance on his Saints debut.

The Liverpool loanee was thrust into the starting lineup as Southampton battled an injury crisis at Newcastle, and marked his debut with a goal that halved the deficit after Newcastle had gone 2-0 up.

He was also central to another pivotal moment in the match, when he drifted past Jeff Hendrick only to be hauled back by the Irish international, earning him a second yellow card.

After the match, which ended 3-2 to Newcastle, Hassenhuttl praised Minamino, highlighting his play in the ‘red zone’, also known as the final third, and praising the way the 26-year-old speeds up the tempo of matches.

Going forward, Minamino is likely to play a big part in the rest of Southampton’s season, as the Saints try and turn around a recent slide down the table. If Saturday’s performance is a starting point, it won’t be long before they’re back to winning ways.

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