Saturday, December 7, 2019

Southampton sacking Mauricio Pellegrino was a fair decision

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 13 Mar 2018

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Southampton dispensed with the services of Argentinian boss Mauricio Pellegrino on Monday. The decision came as no surprise as the Saints have been sinking up the Premier League for the last few months. The club from the south coast are just one point above the relegation zone after a woeful weekend performance at relegation rivals Newcastle saw them lose 3-0.

Another cautious boss

I have to say that the sacking of Pellegrino seems to be a fair one. Some clubs make outrageous decisions when it comes to bosses. However, I believe that a record of just one Premier League win in 17 games is justification for the Argentine boss to lose his job.

The fact that Pellegrino also admitted that the players looked to have given up against Newcastle was probably the final straw for the Southampton hierarchy.

Predecessor Claude Puel guided the Saints to an eighth-place finish and the League Cup final. However, the two parted company in the summer, as the French boss’ style of football was perceived to be too cautious.

Well, the south coast team went out of the frying into the fire with their appointment of Pellegrino. The 46-year-old’s style of play is known to be cautious and the team’s displays this season have not done much to disprove that idea.

Fans can accept defeat if a team does everything to win a game and then lose out. However, when a team do not even try to win, that is when fans become annoyed.

Even Saints legend Matt Le Tissier recently stated that the team have been too negative this season.

Not a bottom three squad

In my opinion, Southampton does not have a bottom three squad. In fact, there is talent within the Saints squad. They have just underperformed this season.

In fact, the squad is virtually the same as the one that finished last season in eighth, except for Virgil van Dijk heading to Liverpool in the Merseysiders annual harvest of the south coast club.

Van Dijk is a big loss. However, the Dutchman did not depart until the January transfer window. Southampton were performing poorly before then. The current Southampton squad is a mid-table squad.

With the right boss, they should be in the top-half of the table, especially in such a poor Premier League campaign. The Saints have won just five league games all season. That is a depressing stat for everybody connected with the club.

A different boss could definitely get more out of the players available in that Southampton squad. The first problem the new boss needs to sort out is the lack of goals, as the Saints have scored just 29 goals in 30 league games, which maybe belies Pellegrino’s reputation as a cautious boss.

The next boss, of course, cannot bring in new strikers. However, whoever comes in can play a slightly less cautious style to get the best out of the Saints existing strikers.

Who will be Pellegrino’s replacement?

The big question now is who will replace Pellegrino in the Southampton hot seat? A few names have shot to the top of the favourite list, with former Saints striker Mark Hughes is the favourite at 1/ 2, while former Watford boss Marco Silva and former Hammers chief Slaven Bilic are also reported to be high on the clubs list of prospective new bosses.

I doubt the likes of Hughes and Bilic would excite Southampton fans. However, Silva is an interesting one. The Portuguese boss is highly rated, but the fact his head was turned by a potential move to Everton would be a worry for the south coast club.

Silva also has experience of suffering relegation from the Premier League with Hull. To be fair to Silva, though, his arrival did have a positive effect on the club from Humberside. Southampton have to act fast, as they are right in the thick of the relegation battle. They need to make the right appointment, but they also need to make a fairly quick decision.

The Saints hierarchy have a pretty good track record in appointing bosses. I would be very surprised to see the south coast side relegated, as there is quality that squad and the arrival of a new boss should give a new boss bounce at least.

Who will be the next Southampton boss?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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