Mauricio Pochettino will give his fringe stars the remaining five games of the season to prove to him he doesn’t need to dip into the transfer market to replace Jay Rodriguez.

The Saints top scorer could be out until the end of the year after rupturing the cruciate ligament in his right knee at Manchester City last weekend.

Pochettino has described his squad as short on numbers and he can barely afford to be without one of his leading lights for such a significant period of time.

As such, the manager may have to delve into the transfer market this summer to fill the void.

However, he will to allow the likes of Gaston Ramirez, when he returns from an ankle injury, and Sam Gallagher, amongst others, to prove he doesn’t need to add to the squad to cover for his stricken star.

He said: “I can see that happening.

“Every game is a very good opportunity for every player to show their worth, to show their quality.

“We need to analyse the performance of every single player to see what we can do in the future.”

He added: “There is still time to analyse that situation.

“There are five games left in the season and we are facing a very long summer.”

Pochettino also played down fears that other World Cup hopefuls may be more tentative in the final weeks of the campaign after seeing the Rodriguez injury.

“I don’t think so. Every player that steps onto the pitch doesn’t think about getting injuries,” said the Saints boss.

“They think about doing as best as possible and showing the England national manager that they can do too as best as they can to get into the national side.”

Rodriguez has yet to undergo surgery on his ACL with the Saints medical staff trying to get the swelling down – his minimum six months of rehabilitation starts immediately after surgery – but Pochettino believes the £7m man will come back stronger.

“I am certain he is going to become reinforced out of this situation and become stronger out of this situation,” insisted Pochettino.

“No player likes to go through the situation he is about to go through but I am positive that he’s going to return reinvigorated from this difficult situation he is in.

“It’s clear that we are all very sad for his situation.

“It is a heavy blow to withstand.

“We know he’s a very strong character and an optimist and he’s doing well mentally.

“He has the full support of the entire squad and the entire club and what’s important right now is that we know exactly when his surgery is going to happen, he recovers as best as possible and he’s on his road back to fitness as soon as possible.”