Southampton ended the Premier League season with a disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Stoke City, resulting in boos from the supporters aimed at manager Claude Puel.
The French coach has been under pressure following a difficult maiden top-campaign and will have a meeting with executive director Les Reed to discuss his performance.
And with Hull City manager Marco Silva so heavily linked with a move to Southampton, is Puel facing the axe?
Top-half finish masking real problems for Southampton
From the outside, a top-half finish and EFL Cup runners-up medal would suggest Southampton have enjoyed a good season, but their lowly points tally and soulless performances tells another story. The Saints finished the 2016/17 Premier League season 8th with 46 points, a tally that would have seen sides finish 13th last season, scoring just 41 times – the sixth-worst goal return.
Puel didn’t help his cause with a woeful end to the campaign either, winning just one of their last eight games, and his side scoring just four goals in this time. The Saints failed to score in five of their last half a dozen Premier League outings, and hadn’t won in front of their own supporters in five games.
Southampton’s last eight games in the Premier League
(15/4/17) Southampton 0-3 Manchester City
(25/4/17) Chelsea 4-2 Southampton
(29/4/17) Southampton 0-0 Hull City
(7/5/17) Liverpool 0-0 Southampton
(10/5/17) Southampton 0-2 Arsenal
(13/5/17) Middlesbrough 1-2 Southampton
(17/5/17) Southampton 0-0 Manchester United
(21/5/17) Southampton 0-1 Stoke City
Supporters have lost confidence in Puel
Southampton supporters have been highly critical of Claude Puel throughout the season due to the uninspired performances at home as well as decisions he’s made in games that keep backfiring. It’s been seven hours since Southampton scored a goal at St Mary’s, and in their final game the supporters chanted ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ after Puel withdrew striker Charlie Austin when Southampton went 1-0 down to Stoke City.
The Saints boss was jeered during his lap of appreciation by the fans and it’s hard to see him in charge next season. While still in the top-half and being 90 minutes from winning a trophy, Puel’s time at Southampton will appear better in the history books, but the board know his appointment has seen cracks emerge that need to be amended.
Hull City’s Marco Silva is 6/4 to be the next Southampton manager, after he almost kept the Tigers up in the Premier League against all odds. The fans have made their feelings clear on the Frenchman and the Southampton board aren’t afraid to wield the axe early.
Will Puel be on his way?
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