Wesley Hoedt can help Southampton to be stronger, says Mauricio Pellegrino

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Mauricio Pellegrino has backed new signing Wesley Hoedt to help shore up Southampton’s defence.

Saints bombed out of the Carabao Cup with a 2-0 second round defeat to Championship outfit Wolves on Wednesday night.

Lazio centre-back Hoedt completed his Saints move this week, and should be in contention to feature in Saturday’s Premier League trip to Huddersfield.

Pellegrino bemoaned Saints’ lack of intelligence in defence in Wednesday’s Wolves loss, with last term’s beaten League Cup finalists falling at the first hurdle this time out.

“I think they were more focused than us in the second half in those 25 minutes,” said Pellegrino of Wolves.

“They were more intelligent in defence, that was the difference.”

Saints remain intent on retaining want-away defender Virgil van Dijk past the end of the transfer window, despite adding £15.5million man Hoedt to their ranks.

And new Southampton manager Pellegrino now hopes Holland defender Hoedt can have a fast impact at St Mary’s.

“Hopefully he can help the team,” said Pellegrino of Hoedt.

“He’s a young boy, left-footed, with quality. Hopefully he can adapt quickly to the dynamic of the team and can help the team to be stronger.”

Danny Batth and 20-year-old rookie Donovan Wilson struck as Wolves stunned Saints at St Mary’s.

Southampton were edged out 3-2 in last term’s League Cup final, but were unable to mount any kind of run in the tournament this time around.

Pellegrino accepted the loss as “a step backwards”, before insisting hard work can reverse some of the problems thrown up.

“It’s a step backwards in our way, in our performance,” said Pellegrino.

“The best news for us is maybe we’ll have more time to prepare better for Premier League games, and try to learn from today. We’ve got to learn from this situation.”

Nuno Espirito Santo hailed Wolves’ fine win – but insisted the Championship men will be quickly back down to earth.

The Wolves boss made 11 changes from the weekend’s 2-1 loss to Cardiff, and felt vindicated by the result against top-tier opposition.

“It’s a great win for us, but nothing changes,” said Nuno.

“We’ve got to get back to work in the league, and concentrate just on the next game.

“It’s not about building a team, it’s about a squad, and they showed there’s no starting XI at Wolves.

“For us it’s about creating a squad, growing their own identity and being able to perform like this.”

Source: PA

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