BOSS Ralph Hasenhuttl said defender Jannik Vestergaard would be a “big loss” should he not be able to feature at Fulham on Boxing Day.

The towering Danish centre-back has been in stellar form in helping Saints to seventh in the Premier League this season.

He is yet to train with the St Mary’s side this week however, after picking up a knee problem.

Asked whether Saints’ game would change if the 28-year-old did not feature, Hasenhuttl said: “He is definitely a player who was in unbelievable shape.

“I think nobody expected him to play like this and it will be a big loss, no question.

“I don't know how serious it is, we don't know yet - but say it is a few weeks, it doesn't make sense for me to tell the players every week 'don't forget, Jannik is not there!'”

He added: “I think we have seen the team at the top of the league play for two months without Virgil van Dijk and everybody said this was not possible, that you could not pay without him.

“They are not really less successful than before, so everything is possible.

“We must trust the other ones. Maybe the game will change slightly because Jannik with the ball has fantastic passes and solutions but we must adapt our game always to every circumstance that is there.”