Soccer-Injured Ings doubtful for rest of Saints' season, says Hasenhuettl

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FA Cup Semi Final - Leicester City v Southampton

(Reuters) - Southampton's Danny Ings is set to miss the next few games as he recovers from a thigh injury and the striker could sit out the final matches of the season, manager Ralph Hasenhuettl said on Thursday.

Ings, Southampton's leading scorer with 10 league goals this season, was taken off in the second half of their 2-1 loss at Tottenham Hotspur last week and Hasenhuettl said he had not trained this week.

"We have Ings, (Ryan) Bertrand and (Oriol) Romeu out," Hasenhuettl told reporters ahead of Friday's league match against Leicester City, who knocked Southampton out of the FA Cup in the semi-finals.

"(With Ings) it is not worse than it looked at first. I don't know if he comes back for the last few games (of the season). We have, with the Liverpool game, five games in two weeks so we need every player.

"Romeu is back on the pitch, but not training with the group. Michael Obafemi has rejoined training and no problems so far but isn't ready."

Bertrand's contract expires at the end of this season and Hasenhuettl was quick to dismiss speculation regarding his absence, saying it was only due to his calf injury.

"It is definitely injury problems, not the contracts. Bertrand... hasn't been able to train. What else can I say," the Austrian manager added.

Southampton were in the top four in December before sliding down the table with just 10 points won in 2021.

The south-coast club now find themselves in 15th -- nine points above the relegation zone but with a game in hand.

"The target is clear, we want to have a much better average of points because recent performances are not what we showed in the first half of the season," Hasenhuettl said.

"Yes, we had some injuries, but we have to find the quality to win these tight games where we are good in the game but don't take the points in the end."

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)