RALPH Hasenhuttl explained the decision to play Mohammed Salisu at left-back versus Leicester City because “we have no other options at the moment”.

Saints appeared to be lining up in the same five-at-the-back shape they had played against Liverpool midweek, for the trip to King Power Stadium.

But as the final day of the 2021-22 Premier League season got underway, it became apparent the 22-year-old central defender was operating in a new role.

Left-footed Salisu was playing as a full-back in a four, despite Hasenhuttl having commented on the Ghanaian’s need for improvement in composure on the ball.

Yan Valery was left on Hasenhuttl’s bench while Kyle Walker-Peters could have moved over to the opposite side if the Frenchman was brought into the side.

But Hasenhuttl, after Saints went on to lose 4-1, explained: “We wanted to not be that passive like we were against Liverpool because last game we wanted to show up.

“I think the guys did okay in the first half, from the pressing way and the way we played was absolutely okay and in the end, still issues with some defending moments where we are not good enough.”

He continued: “We tried. We have to take a lot of risks then, when you’re two down then you open everything and go for the equaliser and it’s normal that you get situations like we conceded the third goal.

“Sali is too far inside, he’s a centre-back, we have no other options at the moment at the full-back position.

“For the first time in this way, he did okay, but we know we have problems in this position at the moment.”

Summer signing Romain Perraud was ruled out of the final week of the season with a leg fracture, while Tino Livramento will not return until 2023 after suffering an ACL injury.

The unfortunate injuries have seen Saints reduced from strong depth in the full-back positions to just Walker-Peters and Valery as recognized seniors.

Youngster Thierry Small, who made his only appearance for Saints in the FA Cup versus Coventry City this season, was present in Leicester but not included in the squad.

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