Fraser Forster believes Manolo Gabbiadini can give Southampton their first trophy since 1976
Gabbiadini has been in sensational form since joining Southampton from Napoli in a £17m deal on transfer deadline day, helping himself to three goals in two Premier League games.
Forster is banking on the Italian hot-shot to continue that impressive form when Saints battle Manchester United in Sunday’s EFL Cup final.
England goalkeeper Forster said: “Gabbiadini has been awesome since he stepped through the door. It normally takes players a while to settle in but he seems to have hit the ground running.
“To score the goals he has have really helped us so if he can keep doing that between now and the end of the season he’ll be a fantastic addition to the squad.”
Manolo Gabbiadini has scored three goals in his first two games for Southampton
Gabbiadini has not looked back since finding the net 12 minutes into his Saints debut in their 3-1 defeat at home to West Ham, followed up by a brace in the 4-0 demolition of Sunderland. And Forster has warned United counterpart David de Gea to expect some power-packed shooting from his new team-mate.
“He hits the ball pretty hard,” he said. “His second goal against Sunderland was an unbelievable turn and finish and just a fantastic bit of quality and the one against West Ham he absolutely hammered it past the keeper.
“He’s shown everything and has worked really hard in training. He’s got on really well with the lads in the dressing room – he’ll be a great signing for us.”
Saints have beaten United on two of their last three visits to Old Trafford but Forster says the Red Devils are a different animal under Mourinho.
Paul Scholes and Michael Owen predict Man Utd's team for EFL Cup final
Wed, February 22, 2017
Paul Scholes and Michael Owen have predicted Manchester United's starting XI for the EFL Cup final against Southampton on Sunday
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Paul Scholes and Michael Owen have predicted Man Utd's EFL Cup final team
He said: “Obviously United are an amazing club with world-class players in every position in the team.
“We’ve been there the last two years and picked up results but it’s a different team now under Mourinho.
“He’s a world-class manager and look at the run they’re on now. It’s important that we focus and prepare as well as we can and implement our game plan.”
Forster has spent the build-up to the game honing his penalty-saving technique in case the final is decided by a shootout.
The Geordie has a dreadful record having failed to save any of the seven spot-kicks he has faced for Saints, including one from Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Saints’ 2-0 defeat at United in August.
Forster said: “It’s a tough one because keepers do research and then strikers know we do research and then you can send each other insane trying to bluff each other and over-thinking it.
“At the end of the day, you just have to make up your mind, go with your gut and hope he goes the same way that you go.”