SAINTS manager Ralph Hasenhuttl knows it’s on him to make sure he doesn’t run Danny Ings into the ground.

Ings has been the club’s best player this season, scoring 14 goals in the Premier League and 16 in all competitions.

Both Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford are facing lengthy spells on the sidelines through injury, which led to Hasenhuttl saying player care is crucial, even though the players don’t like being left out.

He said: “It is a big topic in my mind.

“We have three games in a week and it was good we gave him a rest over the Christmas period. He did not play against Chelsea.

“With his history of injuries, we have done it right so far over the season.

“He is also in a different mode; he can work more and is generally fitter.

“Every Premier League game is the best you can imagine, and everybody wants to play all of the time. Nobody comes to say I cannot play because I am tired. It will never happen.”

One of the reasons behind Ings’ new-found fitness was built over the summer.

He took nutritionists and performance coaches with him to Portugal, Los Angeles and Miami in the post-season to ensure he stayed in shape.

A lot of their focus was to improve the striker’s core strength so that he would be able to sustain the rigours of a Premier League campaign.

Although Ings featured heavily throughout the Christmas period, Hasenhuttl opted to play Che Adams and Michael Obafemi at Chelsea.

That decision paid off, with Obafemi netting his first goal of the season at Stamford Bridge in a 2-0 win.

Because of this, Hasenhuttl hinted he could rotate his starting XI for tonight’s trip to Selhurst Park – especially with another match this weekend in the FA Cup against Tottenham.

 “It is tough for every player and especially in our shape, the strikers have to do a lot of intense high-speed running.

“This is normally not possible to do it three times a week and this is why in the front position I like to rotate.”