Saints are hopeful that Manolo Gabbiadini will not be out for an extended period of time after limping off against Tottenham.

The club’s star striker, who has made such an impact with his six goals since joining in January for £14m, hobbled off with a groin problem in the first half of the 2-1 defeat against Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Given Gabbiadini’s impact, which has made Saints a far more dangerous side, there were obvious fears for their goalscoring prowess for the remainder of the season if he were to be sidelined for a couple of months.

While there has been no firm diagnosis of the problem, Saints manager Claude Puel admitted he was optimistic that the damage would prove to be relatively minor, though insisted Gabbiadini would be staying for treatment during the international break rather than meet up with Italy.

“It’s a groin injury,” confirmed Puel.

“We will see with other examinations.

“I think and I hope it is not bad, but for his national team I think it is not possible for him to play.”

Saints responded well to the departure of Gabbiadini, even though there was frustration that they couldn’t get Shane Long on the pitch quickly after he had departed.

“Perhaps it was better man management because it was particular because Manolo stayed on the pitch,” explained Puel.

“It was a long time and Shane was ready to come and to play and it was not possible. I don’t know why.

“It was particular with the atmosphere without the good concentration on this situation and just after the injury of Manolo.

“It’s hard because I think we stayed on the same attitude like the last games without the good result.

“A draw for me was normal.”

Puel certainly felt his side were good for a point at Tottenham, but instead had to return to the south coast with a defeat which kept Saints tenth in the table heading into the international break.

“It was a good second half but it was a strange game in the first half I think,” reckoned Puel.

“Without a lot of pressure against Tottenham we lost 2-0 and it was difficult to accept, and to accept the second goal.

“I think the second half was better. It was also of course interesting because we can do a good recovery, a good start with the ball.

“We didn’t find the good clinical edge to finish all the situations but I think a draw seemed normal for me.”