Mauricio Pellegrino claims Virgil van Dijk has been rested for Southampton’s clash against Huddersfield on Saturday.
The Netherlands international, who is one of Manchester City’s top targets for the January transfer window, was not even named as a substitute for the game at St Mary’s.
Van Dijk was also dropped for Southampton’s 1-0 defeat to Chelsea last weekend. But the 26-year-old is fit and available for selection.
Asked if Van Dijk is able to play, Pellegrino told Sky Sports: ‘Yes, but I decide the best for today, the best for the game, I think we’ve got many games in a row this week. This is the decision.’
Asked if he’s keeping Van Dijk fit on the sidelines, Pellegrino replied: ‘Yes, he’s training he’s training well but I had to think about today and the next few games.’
Chelsea are also in the running to sign Van Dijk, and earlier this week, Antonio Conte warned that Manchester City should not be allowed a free run at signing the centre-back.
‘Every team, every club, must pay great attention,’ said the Chelsea manager. ‘Because if a club like Manchester City takes all the best [players], it will be very difficult for us to fight. Not only in England but in Europe.’