Ralph Hasenhüttl believes Will Smallbone can ultimately turn the disappointment of his injury setback into a long-term positive, as the midfielder begins the process of recovering from the ACL damage he suffered in last weekend's game at Leicester City.
Smallbone was forced off during the second half at King Power Stadium, with scans subsequently revealing the extent of the problem and leaving the 20-year-old facing a potential six months on the sidelines.
It was a cruel stroke of luck for the Academy graduate, who once again was displaying the depth of his potential on what was his 13th appearance for the first-team.
But, while naturally upset at hearing the news, Smallbone has been told by Hasenhüttl that he can nonetheless look to use the coming months as an opportunity to help his progression in the future.
"It is the worst message you can get to be out for such a long time," said the Saints manager. "I think he showed he wanted to play further and didn't want to step off, and this shows the willing he has and finally to step off is tough for him, but we will work with him.
"I think he should use the time now for working on his physical deficits he has. He has now time to work on his body.
"Such an injury can also be a chance for coming back stronger, because you work on the deficits you have. Sometimes these push backs are a good chance for making a bigger step forward."