Southampton continued their preparations for the 2019/20 season on Saturday as they defeated Preston North End 3-1 at Deepdale.
The Saints travelled to the Championship club after drawing 1-1 against SCR Altach in Austria last Sunday. They also took part in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Brentford on Friday and came out on top.
Ralph Hasenhuttl gave chances to several players against Preston and was content with the efforts of his men as they eased to a 3-1 victory.
Danny Ings opened the scoring after Connor Ripley’s clearance looped off the striker’s thigh and into the back of the net. Southampton’s lead was short-lived, though, as Billy Bodin fired home for the hosts to equalise.
The Saints came out with a strong display in the second half and took the lead through Ings once again, as he thumped home Ryan Bertrand’s cross with a well-timed header.
Promising left-back Jake Vokins capped a successful afternoon with his side’s third and final goal in the closing stages of the match.
Here are four findings from Southampton’s 3-1 win against Preston.
Ings shows his worth
Danny Ings was in good form at Deepdale. His first goal was a product of good positioning and pressing, and his second was one of instinct and precision. With Che Adams now through the door, he will be desperately vying for a place in Ralph Hasenhuttl’s starting line-up in the new season.
Cedric stakes a claim
Cedric Soares was widely expected to leave Southampton this summer, but Ralph Hasenhuttl has given him a chance. The Portugal international started against Preston and looked sharp, bursting forward and combining with his teammates well. His crosses were generally impressive – a far cry from his deliveries in the first half of last season before his loan move to Inter Milan.
Youngsters look at home
Ralph Hasenhuttl vowed to give the club’s academy graduates sufficient opportunities to shine in pre-season, and he is keeping his word. The likes of Jake Vokins, Michael Obafemi, Will Smallbone and Christoph Klarer were handed chances to shine against Preston, and they all looked at home with their senior teammates.
Defensive issues prevail
On a widely positive day for Southampton, their defensive frailties threatened to trip them up. Ralph Hasenhuttl gave Wesley Hoedt and Jack Stephens lifelines, and neither grasped their opportunities. In fact, it was the pair’s lackadaisical defending that enabled Bodin to score Preston’s only goal. Even the typically reliable Jan Bednarek nearly allowed the Championship side in with a loose header at one point. A new central defender is still desperately needed.