Daily Echo:

Mauricio Pellegrino’s problems continue to mount up ahead of the new season with Saints beaten 4-0 at home to Augsburg while the new manager continues to insist Virgil van Dijk will not be sold.

The saga surrounding the Dutch defender is overshadowing the build-up to the Premier League kick-off a week on Saturday and leaves Saints in a difficult position.

Certainly a heavy St Mary’s in Pellegrino’s first home game in charge hasn’t helped matters, with the Bundesliga side running out comfortable winners.

Pellegrino clearly has plenty to sort out with the players he has at his disposal, and could surely do without the distraction of van Dijk insisting he wants away from the club.

However, he again reiterated that the 26-year-old is not for sale.

“We continue in the same way,” he insisted when asked if the club’s position had changed.

“The situation is the same.

“I can’t say no more, because the situation is the boy is aside of the team because he don’t want to play for us.”

Pellegrino was asked whether he believes there is anything more he can do to change van Dijk’s mind and replied: “I would like to bring the boy and to persuade him that he’s important for us and the club will not sell him.

“We are expecting the best for everyone, even for Virgil, but he don’t want to be part of the team.

“This is the reason he is aside from the team.”

Saints certainly could have done with him in the side against Augsburg as they went down to a heavy loss.

“It wasn’t our best game, for sure,” admitted Pellegrino. “The only positive thing is that it’s a friendly game and we can make a lot of conclusions.

“We tried to move all the players and some of them were playing their first game like Prowsey, Redmond, Sam (McQueen).

“Ok, we had to try to keep going and learn from today.

“It is a difficult game to analyse because we want to do our best, but the best thing is that it was a friendly game and that is the best conclusion we can make.”

He added: “Hopefully we can change the face in the next game because we don’t have too many time.

“For sure we cannot repeat the same situation on the pitch as today.

“The other team were better in all different moments of the game, with the ball, without the ball, in challenge, positionally.

“The other day (St Etienne) we see a nice game, today we see a bad game.”

Saints now have just one pre-season friendly left to get things right, against La Liga side Sevilla at St Mary’s on Saturday.

“Important in trying to change quickly the dynamic,” said Pellegrino of the match against the Spaniards.

“We start working together for the next step.”