BOSS Ralph Hasenhuttl admitted Will Smallbone had a "difficult" afternoon against Crystal Palace, adding: "We need to bring him more into a position where he can also finish."

Youngster Smallbone deputised for the injured Stuart Armstrong on the right-hand side of Saints' attack at Selhurst Park, in what was just his fifth Premier League start.

But he was unable to help break down the Palace defence in the 1-0 defeat, before being replaced by Moussa Djenepo in the 77th minute.

Asked for his assessment of 20-year-old Smallbone's performance in place of Armstrong, Hasenhuttl told the Daily Echo: "He is a different player. The first half was difficult for him.

"The second half a little bit better. I think he had a few good crosses into the box. But he’s a completely different player.

"We need to bring him more into a position where he can also finish. We didn’t do it on Saturday too much. It was a difficult game for him."

Armstrong was likely to start against the Eagles, until he returned last week with a quad injury suffered whilst on international duty with Scotland.

"If he has two weeks out he will miss four or five games," said Hasenhuttl.

"It’s definitely not perfect in this part of the season, but we know we have a few positions where we definitely must look for alternatives.

"It would be good if we get some players in, that they can play in more positions. We know this. We have a few on our list finally.

"We have our limits, but let’s have a look what the transfer market will bring."