Mark Hughes eases concerns over Stuart Armstrong injury

The midfielder made his competitive debut for the Saints in their goalless draw to Burnley.

Southampton fans' fears have been put to rest by manager Mark Hughes who has stated he is hopeful of attacking midfielder Stuart Armstrong being ready for the club's trip to Merseyside next weekend. 

The 26-year-old suffered a horrific injury during the second half of the Saints' Premier League opener at home to Burnley, which ended in a goalless draw, but it's thought the extent of the issue is not serious and will most likely play a role in the away fixture against Everton

Armstrong was the first new face through the door at St. Mary's this summer and had vastly impressed during the team's pre-season schedule. 

Southampton sit 12th in the top-flight table after that result; despite the impressive second-half showing from the team, specifically goalkeeper Alex McCarthy who played a major role in keeping the scoreline to what it was with six decent saves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

''I saw him walking around in the dressing room and he looks fine''

The likely reason to Armstrong's departure after that sustained injury was as a precaution as Hughes examined the player's state following the full-time whistle.

“I was pleased with his performance and I saw him walking around in the dressing room and he looks fine," explained the Saints boss.

"He just got a bang so I imagine he’ll be ok but we will check him tomorrow.”

Having joined for a reported £7 million fee from Celtic, he was replaced by another summer acquisition in the form of boyhood supporter Danny Ings - who signed for the Saints on deadline day last week on loan - but the boss was satisfied with Armstrong's performance before being forced off.

Hughes said: “You have seen glimpses of what he will bring us. He made good runs and the longer he’s with us we will be able to exploit them on more occasions and more readily.''

“We just allowed them too many opportunities''

Hughes changed Southampton's tactical set-up from his predecessor, mainly switching to a predominantly more defensive shape with a trio of centre-backs to make it more difficult for the opposition to force their way through the Saints' back line. 

The manager realises there is still plenty of learning to do regarding the most efficient formation for Southampton.

“The three centre-halves maybe needed a little bit more clarity. Once we went to a back four we needed to defend correctly," he said.

Hughes did alter the defence to have a better attacking impact on the game and it is fair to say the overall team performance did improve, especially in the second-half. 

“Going to a back four actually helped us as it was more playing in a straight line and we could make their balls into the front men more predictable.”

Southampton see themselves face Everton on Saturday before hosting former Premier League winners Leicester City the following week. 

(Quotes from the Daily Echo)