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Hasenhuttl's Faith In Che Adams Is Paying Off
Tuesday, 20th Oct 2020 09:13

For much of last season as he struggled for a goal, some Saints supporters were pointing to Che Adams signing and saying it was another failure, but the man who mattered Ralph Hasenhuttl seemingly did not have any doubts.

As Christmas approached last season Che Adams must have wondered whether he had made the right move to join Saints, initially he had been first choice but he had struggled to score, it was not for the lack of trying but nothing seemed to go right for him, he made all the right runs, got in all the right positions, but he just had no luck in front of goal, he wasn't blazing the ball over the bar, he just had no luck.

By mid September he was taken out of the firing line and as Saints started to revive in December he was reduced to the role of bit part player, he was down to getting a few minutes at the end to run down the clock.

Rumours were starting to circulate that Leeds United would be making a bid in January, then out of the blue for the trip to Chelsea he was back in the starting line up as Ralph Hasenhuttl made the shock decision to rest Danny Ings and Shane Long and play Adams and Obafemi in attack.

Why Hasenhuttl made this decision we will never know, perhaps it was due to a packed Xmas programme or maybe it was because he was giving Adams one last chance to prove himself before we decided to cut our losses and accept a substantial bid from Leeds, or perhaps this had been the Austrian's game plan all the time, take the striker out of the firing line and then bring him back with confidence restored.

Whatever the reasons, this was a gamechanger for Adams, he had his best game for the club up to that point and showed that he was worth keeping faith with, Obafemi took the plaudits in a 2-0 win with a great goal, but the architect was Adams who led the line, laid on the goal and for me was the man of the match.

But this was not the complete redemption of Che, he was not yet back in as first choice, but his role now was a lot more prominent, he was no longer just coming off the bench to run down the clock. he was getting more game time and contributing.

But a goal was still not coming and as the season headed into its last games before lockdown, Adams had not gone to Leeds and most Saints fans had kept faith with him as their manager had, they could see there was a player in there, but were accepting that it might be next season that he truly blossomed.

There were little glimpses of what he could do, notably at Leicester and in a 2-0 home win against Aston Villa, a win that changed us from relegation battlers to mid table, with Saints under pressure he won the ball, held it and then laid a sublime pass for Stuart Armstrong to run through and score in injury time to finish the Villa hopes.

There was only one more game before lockdown after that and little did we know the impact he would have in that period after the return.

Initially he was a sub in the first two games of the return, but he looked sharp and looked the part and was unlucky not to score his first goal at Watford, but that goal was not long away, a glorious long range effort in the 1-0 win against Manchester City.

The season had changed for Saints and it had changed for Che Adams , a goal at Bournemouth and two against Sheffield United in the final game showed not only he was a Premier League quality player, but that he was forming a great partnership with Danny Ings.

That has continued this season, Adams compliments Ings and both are not just goal scorers but providers, that is not just in assists, both are able to make clever runs that pull defenders out of position and create space for their partner.

That was evident in the 2nd goal at Chelsea, Adams scored it, but Ings was buzzing around pulling the defender out of position to give Adams the space to bring the ball back and fire home, Adams does the same for Ings.

Since the restart Adams himself has made the assist for two of the 9 Saints goals as well as his notch against Chelsea, but his approach play and role in build ups, means that some of his work is not recorded in stats.

So in hindsight Ralph Hasenhuttl has played the Che Adams situation just right, pulling him out of the firing line, building his confidence, reigniting his fire and enthusiasm and then unleashing him at the right moment.

Certainly the Austrian manager publicly at least always kept faith with Adams, the final decision to keep him or let him go to Leeds in January lay with Hasenhuttl, how near it was to a coin toss is something only Ralph knows, but sometimes as a manger you need a bit of luck and Ralph made the right decision on this one.

Now after starting all of the first 5 games of the season Che Adams is very much the undisputed first choice partner of Danny Ings and that partnership if it keeps getting better at the current rate could see us have a great season, I would say that outside of the Big Six and there is not a better partnership in the Premier League, although Everton fans currently might not agree.

Photo: Action Images

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Peterx added 09:46 - Oct 20
Agree Che is really starting to look good. One observation is with Prem keepers being stronger I think he needs to blast more chances and get that decision making of when to blast and when to place more in the blasting category. Makes me think back to a Shearer interview I saw where he basically said his secret was he hits it as hard as he can and the keepers generally can't save it. Agreed this could be a really special partnership which hopefully we will be talking about for a long time.

nickdevon added 10:03 - Oct 20
Good article.
Also Peterx's comments on blasting the ball. I noticed in many situations that Che forces good saves from the keeper and is often unlucky, but he does often side foot the ball. I know blasting sometimes loses accuracy but many of the top strikers just hit as hard as they can.
The Chelsea goal he hit hard but was only a few yards out... more shots like that Che. I'm sure it is a confidence thing.
3 points againt Everton please

IWOZTHERE added 12:27 - Oct 20
I don't think enough was made of his goal against Chelsea.His pace and threat forced the mistakes, first from their fullback, then from their keeper. He was quick enough to keep it in play and get himself in the mix to fire it home. An assist AND a goal! All his own work. Better (for me) than many individual dribbles..... goals which usually grab the attention?

A1079 added 13:49 - Oct 20
My impression last season that the vast majority of Saints supporters were patient and behind Che Adams and wanted to give him a fair chance and time. In fact he was arguably given more time than some of our home grown academy players.

I have seen signs of improvement and even if he is not scoring himself his contribution is helping the team wider at the frontline. But, I remain cautious at this stage. His conversion rate needs to improve and he needs to be more clinical (which I guess is one of the same thing). He is not always going to have Ings alongside him.

RedandWight added 14:44 - Oct 20
Its good to see Che smiling at last!
His hold up play and support for the lead striker have come good - very good actually. His scoring is also good but I really do think we are going to see his goal scoring go from strength to strength. Theres still more to come from Che.

underweststand added 15:24 - Oct 20
It was hard for Ché coming into a side that wasn't firing on all cylinders but to his credit Ralph gave him 6 Prem. starts before bringing in Shane Long as Danny's regular partner, after which he was condemned to the bench and became a bit part player.
When he finally scored against Man City with that outrageous long shot, it was as if all was forgiven. The much quoted stat. that it was his 28th game (?) was somewhat misleading as 18 of those games he was subbed in, sometimes for less than 10 minutes, and the sum total of all those sub.apps was the equivalent of just 3 whole games.

Even when he did get on the pitch, his contributions didn't go un-noticed and the cross field pass to Armstrong (mentioned in Nick's article ) was truly top class. The bad luck syndrome also hampered Ché , and he might well have scored earlier had it not been for the width of the posts on several occasions, but justice was done when he ended up with 4 goals after the Corona break.
Every "big time" scorer has a good partner, and those who recall James Beattie's great seasons, would admit that both Pahars and Ormerod were big contributors to James' success. ..(as indeed Adam Lallana was for Rickie Lambert in more recent times).

Now that we are talking about Ings and Adams as our new strike force, but the basic message is still .." give it to Danny ", but I hope that Ché will get a few goals of his own and if he ends the season in double figures... I'd say he was a genuine success.... PLUS the thought of adding Theo Walcott to the dimension is a mouth-watering prospect.

SaintNick added 16:24 - Oct 20
Double figures is a tough task these days if you are not with a top six side, a 30 goal joint partnership between Ings and Adams would be a good measure of success

SanMarco added 22:26 - Oct 20
He's now got 5 in the last 11 league games so that is double-figures form for me.

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