Southampton have sacked manager Nigel Adkins and appointed Argentine Mauricio Pochettino as his replacement.
The 47-year-old took charge of the Saints in 2010 when the club was struggling in lower tier of English football and guided the team to successive promotions. Despite a stormy start to the Premier League season, Southampton are well above the relegation zone, lying in 15th place.
The timing of the sacking raises few eyebrows and drew criticism as well. The decision comes two days after Southampton earned a heroic 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea.
They have also amassed a memorable victory against Aston Villa and got a positive result against Arsenal as well this month which takes them to just one defeat in last seven matches in the league.
Matt Le Tissier, the Southampton legend, pointed his finger to the chairman, said as quoted in the press:
“It doesn’t surprise me. It’s a strange time of the season, they’ve lost two of the last 12 games and came from 2-0 down to draw at Chelsea.
“[But] it seems to be the way the club’s being run under the chairman. Nothing’s surprising and it’s a bit of a laughing stock.”
His replacement, Pochettino, will take charge of the club against Everton on Monday. The Argentine coach has been out of work since November after he was sacked by La Liga outfit Espanyol.
Southampton chairman Nicola Cortese released an official statement, saying:
“Whilst we acknowledge the contribution Nigel has made during the past two years, for the club to progress and achieve our long-term targets a change was needed.
“Mauricio is a well-respected coach of substantial quality who has gained a reputation as an astute tactician and excellent man manager.
I have every confidence that he will inspire our talented squad of players to perform at the highest.”
Pochettino was a former player of Espanyol who is most remembered by the English fans for his tackle on Michael Owen at the 2002 World Cup that earned England a penalty from which David Beckham duly converted.
The author of this article is Saikat Mandal, you can follow him on Twitter @SMandal87.