UNHAPPY Ralph Hasenhuttl expressed his frustration at Stuart Armstrong returning from international duty with an injury.

Armstrong is set to miss Saints' Premier League opener at Crystal Palace on Saturday due to a quad problem, sustained during his time away with Scotland as they began their Nations League campaign.

The midfielder played 11 minutes as a substitute against Israel on Friday, before coming through 80 minutes of Monday's 2-1 win in Czech Republic.

But the 28-year-old will not feature at Selhurst Park.

Asked about Armstrong's injury, Hasenhuttl said: "I’m definitely not happy about that.

"It’s a quad injury. We know about his physical situation that he sometimes needs a little bit more rest before a game because he sprints a lot and he takes a lot of runs.

“You must definitely be careful with him.

“I don’t know what happens, but it's the second time he’s come back injured from the international break.

"I know he has also had some injuries when he was with us but we try to handle it, especially when we have more games in a week, to really be careful to not overwhelm him."

He continued: “I don’t have the stats on what they definitely did there and what they trained there.

“Hopefully it’s not too bad. In the moment it looks that it's not too bad because he came off after 80 minutes and he had no problems. It came after the game.

“But it’s not perfect for me."

“Our medical department spoke to them (Scotland) and know now more.”

Hasenhuttl added: "I really hate it to be honest, because it's a pre-season and I do everything to keep the players healthy and then he's coming back after playing 80 minutes, which was definitely not perfect I think.

"That smashes a few automatisms in our game. We have to handle this, but it's not perfect.

"Also I think the opponent didn't have many opponents away during the international break.

"We have to take it as it is, find the best solutions and then try to win the game."

Saints were one of the form sides in the Premier League during Project Restart, losing just once, which propelled them up into 11th in the table.

Asked if he was nervous or excited ahead of the new campaign, Hasenhuttl said: “I was very calm until yesterday when I heard we had our first injury of pre-season. Now I am not so calm anymore.

"What I really hate is if I try to keep everyone fit and pay attention in the pre-season, and not to overwhelm them, only for a player to have an injury when they are gone. This is what I don’t like.

"Like every time in football, you have to find a solution and prepare for the first game. Nobody knows exactly where they stand at the moment but we must try to display all our qualities on the pitch.

"I’d be surprised if this will be the best game in our time working together but we must find our rhythm as quickly as possible. It’s not long ago that we played fantastic football and won games in a row. Hopefully we can continue this.”

Aside from Armstrong, Hasenhuttl has no other injury concerns ahead of the trip to Palace.

"The rest of the team is OK so far, and we will take a look and see who makes the journey with us tomorrow," he said.