BOSS Ralph Hasenhuttl believes defender Lyanco has now proven he is an “alternative” in Saints’ backline – and deserved a clean sheet against Brighton.

The Brazilian centre-back featured for the entirety of the 1-1 draw with the Seagulls at St Mary’s on Saturday.

It was Lyanco’s first start in front of a home crowd since his summer move from Italian outfit Torino.

Speaking post-match about the defender, Hasenhuttl told the Daily Echo: “It was a pity that we haven’t had a clean sheet. I think he deserved to have it.

“He did a good job. Showed that he definitely is an alternative for this position and that is okay.”

The 24-year-old has played in each of Saints' past six Premier League contests.

Lyanco will now face competition from fellow defender Jack Stephens for a starting spot. He returned to the squad following a tendon injury.

Saints’ next test comes against Arsenal in the top flight on Saturday.