MAURICIO Pellegrino plans to change Saints’ formation but is “not sure” it will solve their goal-scoring problems ahead of Saturday's trip to Stoke City.

Saints have netted just twice from open play in the their first six Premier League games.

There have been calls for Pellegrino to switch to a formation which will accommodate two strikers, or one potentially with three centre-backs.

Pellegrino’s side are well-stocked in central defence, with Maya Yoshida, Wesley Hoedt, Virgil van Dijk and Jack Stephens all frontline options.

And it seems natural Saints might switch tactics to make the most of that fact.

It has been highly fashionable for top-flight teams to deploy three centre-backs and Pellegrino sees its merits but isn’t convinced it will help the issues in front of goal.

The Argentine used a 3-4-2-1 formation in the 2-0 defeat to Wolves in the League Cup and will try it again "in some games".

“It’s something I like to do. In my past teams I play with three centre-backs,” he said.

“It doesn’t always depend on the feeling of the manager.

“Sometimes it depends on how the players are and we’ve got centre-backs but I’m not sure we’ll improve or score more by playing three centre backs.

“But in some games I will try this formation. I used it against Wolves but I will repeat that, to be better in the final third, it’s not about playing more strikers or about putting wingers or full backs higher.

“It’s about capacity and quality to be precise.”

Pellegrino praised striker Shane Long, who has started the last two matches, for his contribution.

But has urged the Republic of Ireland frontman, who is yet to score this term, and the rest of Saints’ misfiring attack to start finding the net.

“Shane is always a hard worker and improving,” he said.

“It’s something really important when you are deep, he is the type of player that can keep the ball and challenge in aerial play and can give this two or three seconds you need to go forward.

“I know for a striker to score goals is something that completes the job.

“I would like that from all of them because we need [Manolo] Gabbiadini, we need Charlie [Austin], we need Sofiane [Boufal], Nathan [Redmond], Dusan [Tadic] and all our offensive players, and even defensive players, to be better in the final third.”