MANAGER Ralph Hasenhuttl heaped praise on summer signing Ibrahima Diallo and insisted: “I am happy that I have him here.”

The Saints boss was speaking after the France under-21 international made his first Premier League start in Boxing Day’s 0-0 stalemate with Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Diallo played 90 minutes in west London, having come in for the suspended Oriol Romeu.

Assessing the former Brest man’s display, the manager said: “Against the ball he was good, aggressive, had a lot of ball wins.

“With the ball, maybe not always the best decisions so far – he could not often play in front – but it was not necessary.

“I think to be a little bit more safe, not too much risk was absolutely the right decision. It’s not so easy to play here, it’s a tight pitch – not a lot of space here.

“You’ve seen it, that it’s more of a pitch for pressing, not so much for playing football and it makes it so difficult to create chances, to come here.”

Diallo had previously started for the club’s B team in Premier League Two before making the step up to face the Cottagers.

“The first half you saw him having a good few fights against their sixes. They are also strong,” the boss said.

“I am happy that I have him here and he will make a lot of games for us, this is for sure.”

Diallo will be hoping to keep his place when Saints host West Ham at St Mary’s on Tuesday.