Mohamed Elyounoussi credits Celtic loans after Southampton turnaround
MOHAMED ELYOUNOUSSI admits his loan spells at Celtic are the catalyst for his impressive season with Southampton in the Premier League.
The Norway international striker has become a key man for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side, featuring 20 times and scoring seven goals to help their charge into the top half of the table.
This form comes after two temporary seasons with the Bhoys, where he scored a total of 25 goals in 69 outings, including six strikes in European competition and a deadlock effort from Old Firm last March.
Elyounoussi initially struggled at Southampton after completing a £16million transfer from Basel in the summer of 2018.
He said, “He [the time at Celtic] benefited me in terms of playing time, I needed playing time, to find myself where I was before coming to Southampton.
“I scored a few goals, especially in the Europa League for Celtic, and maybe that’s where Ralph [Hasenhuttl] I saw my strengths as a player, not just creating chances, but also as a goalscorer.
“The last pass and the things he can use, and I’m adapting a lot better now to how he wants us to play, than maybe when he first came in and we had a little bit of wrong.
“Then it was about staying in the Premier League, but now we’re fighting for the top ten and that’s where we belong.”
Hasenhuttl admits Elyounoussi’s time north of the border has transformed the player.
He added: “I think that loan time has definitely helped him take the next step in his development.
“It was important for him to have playing time there – it was always a problem here at the start,
“It’s always difficult to get into a new team and then the team doesn’t work well and you’re a bit under the radar and you don’t get the chance to play much.
“So I think he needed that time and we were always following him, watching how he developed his game and it was for me, this summer, a very clear decision to say ‘I want him back in this team’.”