Southampton have sacked Mauricio Pellegrino after a miserable run of one win in 17 Premier League matches left them embroiled in a fight to avoid relegation with eight games remaining.
The 46-year-old has paid the price for a dismal run of form. Hovering just one spot above the relegation zone Southampton are in danger of losing the top-flight status they acquired six seasons ago.
Of their eight remaining league fixtures five are away from home and two of their home matches are against Chelsea and Manchester City.
The final straw for the Saints board was the spineless 3-0 defeat at Newcastle United on Saturday when Pellegrino accused some of his players of giving up.
In a statement released yesterday the club said that assistant manager Carlos Compagnucci and assistant first-team coach Xavier Tamarit had also parted company with the club.
“We would like to place on record our thanks to Mauricio, Carlos and Xavier for their efforts during their time with Southampton, and wish them well for the future,” the statement said. “The club will look to appoint a new management team as soon as possible, with the search for a replacement already underway.”
he sacking of Pellegrino raises questions once more about Southampton’s decision to fire Puel last summer. The Frenchman had guided the Saints to the league cup final (their first appearance in a final for 14 years) and eighth place in the Premier League, not a bad balance sheet after one season in charge.
As The Guardian wrote at the time, Puel “did not fall short of the reasonable expectations that Southampton could have had when they appointed him less than a year ago, he just failed to meet their admirably unreasonable ones”.
So they hired Pellegrino, and nine months on they must be regretting their decision. As for Puel, he is now in charge at Leicester who, ironically, are eighth in the Premier League, the position that Saints were when they fired the Frenchman.
The Times says that top of Southampton’s wishlist to succeed Pellegrino is Marco Silva, the former Watford and Hull City head coach, but he is in advanced talks with Benfica over a two-year deal.
As the paper points out “given the club’s perilous position they will struggle to attract a leading manager”, increasing the likelihood that the Saints will go marching into the Championship at the end of the season.