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Skipper insists Saints can cope without Pelle

Saints captain Jose Fonte is confident that the club can get a positive result against Manchester City despite Graziano Pelle's absence.

Steve Bardens/Getty Images

Southampton captain Jose Fonte is confident that the Saints can pick up a positive result at the Etihad despite top scorer Graziano Pelle being suspended.

The Italian striker was booked late on in the defeat to Stoke for a deliberate handball. That was his fifth booking of the season which means he will miss the trip to the Etihad on Saturday.

However, Fonte is confident that the side can cope without the striker.

"Well, we have other players in the team so we need to deal with it," Fonte told the Daily Echo.

"Obviously he’s [Pelle] an important part in our team and it is going to be difficult without him.

"But we have trust in the other players as well. We all know the philosophy that we have and we’ll try and play our game there."

Shane Long is the likely choice to lead the line for the Saints with Jay Rodriguez reported to have had another operation, this time on his foot. The only other possibility is Ryan Seager but Ronald Koeman will be unlikely to start the youngster.

Fonte believes it will be a good opportunity for Long to start down the middle rather than the wide position that Koeman prefers to utilise the forward.

"It is a good opportunity for Shane to show that he can play up there as well. He’s going to have his chance there so let’s hope he can get some goals."

Koeman's side will travel to the Etihad buoyed by City's poor performance against Liverpool which saw them suffer a 4-1 defeat at home to Klopp's side.

"We know it’s going to be tough but obviously we’re going to go there and try and get a result."

Fonte will be hoping that the Saints will put on a better performance than the one that saw them lose 1-0 at home to Stoke. The Portuguese international bemoaned the international break for the side's lacklustre performance against The Potters.

"We didn’t create enough. We didn’t have clear-cut chances, so today wasn’t our best and we have to move on from this, have a good rest and prepare ourselves for the difficult fixtures that we have now.

"We didn’t start well and I guess the international break took its toll on us. Most of the players played a lot of minutes and we came back a little bit lethargic and it wasn’t the best of performances."