Southampton legend Franny Benali wants Ralph Hasenhuttl and his men to use the 9-0 thumping Leicester inflicted on them 18 months ago as fuel for today’s FA Cup semi-final.
Leicester were rampant on a miserable night on the South Coast with Ayoze Perez and Jamie Vardy bagging a hat-trick apiece as their side took advantage of Ryan Bertrand’s early sending-off.
And Benali, who was part of the Saints squad who last played in an FA Cup semi in 2003, said: “It upsets a lot — if not most — Saints supporters whenever the 9-0 gets mentioned but it happened.
“And, to be honest, I don’t mind it being brought up because I know that if I was in that dressing-room I’d still feel it reinforces a purpose and a reason to do something positive in a game like this just to put that to bed and have something more positive to talk about.
“Because that was just a humiliation.
“Yes, they bounced back and won at Leicester that same season but it’s obvious people don’t talk about that.
“So the players who figured that night and are still part of the squad need to use it as a little bit of fuel.
“I maybe wouldn’t go as far as revenge but motivation, for sure.
“There’s the obvious prize of getting to an FA Cup final but there’s the double, added benefit for a few players to just put something to one side for a long time.”
Danny Ings was in the Southampton team that night and, given the speculation surrounding his future, he will be in the spotlight again today.
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Benali added: “I know he’s an ambitious man and an ambitious player still as well, and there’s a degree of me that would understand wanting to move to a big club and potentially increasing his earnings for a few seasons.
“But a new deal at Southampton would be on improved terms and when you might be earning a bit more but you’re not in the team every week, you’re not living around the area you’ve been brought up in, that would be a big factor for me and I’d like to think that will be the case with Danny.
“I know the happiness it gave me being around family and friends and playing for my hometown club.
“And Danny, to a whole new level, to the one Matt Le Tissier enjoyed, if he were to stay for the rest of his career and continue doing good things he will never be forgotten by Southampton supporters.
“He’d never have to buy a pint in the city again and definitely not if he wins them the FA Cup final.
“I might even put my hand in my pocket for that.”
Benali sees Ings, James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond is the obvious threats for Southampton but he’s also hoping for something off-script today.
He said: “There’s a little something in my mind thinking there’s an opportunity for someone like Nathan Tella, whether it’s as a substitute.
“His pace could unsettle Leicester and I’d love to see a romantic story outside of the obvious.”
Watch Leicester City v Southampton in the Emirates FA Cup semi-final exclusively live on BT Sport 1 on Sunday, April 18 from 6pm. Sign up contract free with a BT Sport Monthly Pass for just £25 per month. For more info visit bt.com/sport
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