Total Saints attended Ralph Hasenhüttl's first press conference of the season - ahead of the Crystal Palace game on Saturday - and it's fair to say the Austrian wasn't entirely happy.
Despite the fact a ball hasn't even been kicked in anger yet (at Club level anyway...), Hasenhüttl was noticeably frustrated about the fact Stuart Armstrong is already nursing an injury, having returned from Nations League action with Scotland.
Speaking about Armstrong, Hasenhüttl said: "I’m definitely not happy about that! It’s a quad injury. We know about his physical situation, that he sometimes needs a little bit more rest before a game, because he sprints a lot and he takes a lot of runs. You must definitely be careful with him."
Implying that the Scottish National team hadn't necessarily looked after Armstrong properly, Hasenhuttl added "I don’t know what happens with him but I know it’s the second time he’s coming back injured from the international break. I know he has had some injuries with us, but we tried to handle it, especially when we have more games in a week to really be careful to not overwhelm him. I don’t have the stats on what they definitely did there and how they trained there."
Reflecting on how long Armstrong will be out, which definitely includes Saints' trip to Palace, the Saints manager continued “Hopefully it’s not too bad. In the moment he’s not too bad because he came off after 80 minutes and he had no problems. It came after the game. But it’s not perfect for me."
Time will tell how long the injury keeps Armstrong out of Premier League action, but its clearly not the start to 2020/21 that Hasenhüttl wanted.
Will Smallbone is set to replace the Scot at Selhurst Park, as Saints look to improve on a record which has seen them win just 2 of their last 21 Premier League opening day fixtures.
Article by Ben Stanfield
(Photo by Southampton Football Club)