Southampton have sacked Mauricio Pellegrino after a miserable streak that saw just one win after 17 Premier League matches.
Southampton have won only five league games this season, two of them against the bottom club, West Bromwich Albion. Pellegrino had been expected to bring an attacking brand of front-foot football to St Mary’s but his team have struggled to convince and their conservative style of play has frustrated supporters.
The frustration has clearly embroiled even the hierarchs of the club, as Pellegrino becomes the top-flight’s ninth managerial casualty since August.
Their record left them embroiled in a fight to avoid relegation with nine games remaining, even as the club now targeting a quick appointment for a new manager.
“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,” read a Saints club statement on Monday evening. “The club will look to appoint a new management team as soon as possible.” The assistant manager, Carlos Compagnucci, and the assistant first-team coach, Xavier Tamarit, have also left .
It will be the third manager appointed at St Mary’s in less than two years – which should be done ideally before Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final at Wigan Athletic. Still, club officials could wait to name the Argentinian’s successor since they would have no league match until the end of this month, at West Ham on 31 March.
Amongst the candidates to replace Pellegrino are Marco Silva, the former Watford and Hull City manager who is now out of work and was once of interest to Saints, and Slavisa Jokanovic, the Fulham manager, who has also previously been linked with the club.
Nonetheless, one could argue that the timing of Pellegrino’s dismissal does not bode well as Southampton, who sits just a point above the bottom three has a challenging run-in ahead. They only have only three home matches remaining, including the visits of Chelsea and Manchester City, the latter on the final day of the season.