Southampton have been dealt a blow with Sofiane Boufal unlikely to start in Wednesday’s crucial home game against fellow Premier League strugglers Norwich.
Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl revealed Boufal’s toe injury, sustained last week when running into his kitchen table at home, has shown no sign of improvement.
The Moroccan midfielder exacerbated the problem when stepping off the bench to help his side clinch their first home win since April in Saturday’s 2-1 victory against Watford.
“I must say it is getting worse and this is not a good signal,” Hasenhuttl told a press conference.
“The reaction after game was not the best one, so for (Wednesday) it will be difficult I think.
“Maybe from the bench, but not from the beginning. It’s not really positive this message.”
Hasenhuttl, who confirmed he otherwise has a fully-fit squad, described Norwich’s visit as “absolutely massive”.
The Saints, humiliated in a 9-0 home defeat to Leicester last month, ended an eight-match winless league run in front of their own fans with victory against Watford, which was their first success in nine top-flight fixtures.
They are one place and a point better off than second-bottom Norwich and are bidding for back-to-back league wins for the first time this season.
Hasenhuttl is still under enormous pressure – his side were booed off when trailing 1-0 at half-time to Watford – but the German insisted he had no regrets about taking on the job last December.
“If you ask me, I still love my job here, and the way we have shown how we are committed in the last few months and weeks was special for me and gives me the signal it was absolutely the right decision to come here,” he said.
“We are a special club and we know about the difficulties of our way, but in this way we go together and it’s the only chance for us, to develop the young players and make them better.”
Southampton have won only 11 of their 37 league games under Hasenhuttl, who replaced Mark Hughes on December 6 last year.
“It’s never good enough,” he added. “You always want to take more wins and there are still a lot of issues in our game that we can work on.
“But this is the Premier League and it is the toughest in the world and, for us, with the financial options we have, we try to do the best.”