Puel not concerned about van Dijk absence

Southampton manager Claude Puel says he has adequate cover for defender Virgil van Dijk, who will not feature against Everton on Monday.

The centre-back has been an ever-present figure for the Saints this season, making 26 appearances in all competitions.

However, Puel will have to make do without the services of the highly-rated Dutchman, who picked up a red card in the 2-1 loss against West Brom in their most recent outing.

Despite never playing together this season, Puel is confident that the central defensive partnership of Jose Fonte and Maya Yoshida will be able to do business against the Toffees.

"I think we have possibilities with (Yoshida) and (Fonte) to play this game," he told reporters.

"I hope Maya can recover after this game because it's a particularity to play two days after and this many games but we have to adapt to this situation and to give always the good answer.

"I know it's difficult after two losses and with these games in a short space but it's a good thing to see my players and my squad in this situation.

"We can see the quality of the squad and the players with good spirit to stay with a good concentration and always with a positive attitude and it's a good challenge to see this."

Southampton are just three points behind their opponents and Puel is wary of the threat that Ronald Koeman's side possess, citing the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirrallas as dangermen.

"Everton has quality, good individual players like Lukaku and Mirallas with the possibility to score and make the difference but it's important to stay with good concentration of our team and to keep the good spirit," he added.

"It's an opportunity and challenge and a game away against any opportunity we can have the good answer, the necessary quality to win a game.

"It will be the true for this game."

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