Southampton's Djenepo aiming to be better than Mane

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Moussa Djenepo - Southampton
The Malian forward has lofty ambitions and has backed himself to reach some impressive heights in the years to come

Southampton attacker Moussa Djenepo is hoping to "become the next Sadio Mane" as he uses the Liverpool star as inspiration.

Djenepo, 21, joined the club for a reported £14 million ($17m) from Standard Liege last year, and had scored two goals and provided two assists in 18 Premier League games before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mane spent two seasons at St Mary's before joining Liverpool in 2016 and the Senegal international has developed into one of the world's best attackers.

Djenepo is using Mane as inspiration and the Mali international hopes he can exceed what the Liverpool star has achieved.

"Sadio is a big inspiration for me. I like him, he's a very big player," he told talkSPORT.

"But I think I can be better [than him] if I work hard. Sadio is a very big player, and I'm young and I need to learn more.

"In the future we will see. I will do my best to become the next Sadio Mane."

The Malian forward was also full praise for teammate Danny Ings who welcomed him to the team after penning a four-year contract last summer.

“It was a big motivation for me, that a big player like Danny took time to text you when you are young like I am,” he said.

“It meant everything to me. Danny’s a very, very good guy. He’s given me so much advice in training, we smile together and I’m trying to teach him the French language as well!”

Djenepo's first season in the Premier League was rocked by the tragic passing of his mother in March, with Southampton quick to rally around him. 

“Moussa is back now from the funeral of his mum. He seems to be getting into a better mode again. It was not easy for him. We tried to help him as much as we can,” Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl told the club website.

“It always helps if you are on the pitch and doing what you like to do the most. That helps you not to forget, but to get a little bit of deflection from what is around you at the moment. It has shown every day since he is here that he is getting his laughter back again.

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“I like to see him laughing and don’t like to see him when he is sad. He was not really in a good moment when he came back, but now it is getting better and better.

“We are all helping him to get back to the Moussa we know because he was always the most positive guy in the squad.

“This gives the whole squad a lift sometimes because he enjoys his job so much and was always positive for the team. Now we try to bring him back in this mode.”