Mauricio Pellegrino admitted he “can’t manage” the Virgil van Dijk situation and has to keep focussed on the rest of his squad.

Van Dijk’s summer transfer saga is rumbling on, with the Dutch defender, who was laid low by a virus last week, still training alone after submitting a transfer request with Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City all linked with a move for him.

The 26-year-old has shown little indication he is about to back down, while Saints have stood firm in their stance that he is not for sale.

Pellegrino is in a tough situation having to deal with the problems caused by having his best player missing while also trying to give the rest of his squad the tools for success this season.

As such he is trying to keep doing the things he believes can have a positive impact.

He said: “I think we play a good game (against Swansea).

“Virgil is part of the squad and I can’t talk about something that right now is something I can’t manage as a manager.

“Hopefully, I repeat again, we are waiting him to train with the team and to be part of the team again.”

He added: “I was talking with him twice and the club was clear with him.

“I will repeat again the same.

“I think all of us, the technical director, me as a manager, we know that Virgil is an important part of the club but we need him in another way.”

It is believed that van Dijk did not attend the opening day goalless draw at home to Swansea.

Also missing from the starting line-ups was Swansea’s best player, Gylfi Sigurdsson.

He is also involved in a transfer battle as he hopes to complete a move to Everton, though the two clubs have been unable to agree a fee despite Swans boss Paul Clement saying he believed a deal is moving closer.

Pellegrino was asked whether it is fair on supporters that they pay their money but don’t get to see the best players in action because of these sort of problems and replied: “I am responsible to train the team to try to achieve the best performance possible, but I can’t manage other situations like some player aside the team.

“It is not my responsibility about that.

“It is a pity because the people deserve to see the best players on the pitch.

“It is realistic but this happens and we have to keep going.”