Southampton manager Nigel Adkins has been sacked after two-and-a-half years in charge at St. Mary’s.
Argentine Mauricio Pochettino has been appointed in his place, according to the BBC.
The surprising decision comes just two days after The Saints heroically came back from 2-o down at Stamford Bridge to draw with European Champions Chelsea and with the club in as stable a position as they have been all term, currently standing three points above the drop zone in 15th. They had only lost twice in their last ten games.
Adkins, 47, took the club from League One to the Premier League with successive promotions, bringing them back to the Premier League for the first time in seven years.
However Southampton chairman Nicola Cortese claims the decision is not about short term survival but about long-term growth;
“This decision has been made with the long-term ambitions of Southampton Football Club in mind.
“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 possible level.”
Argentine Mauricio Pochettino may be best remembered by football fans as the defender who fouled Michael Owen at the 2002 World Cup to give England a penalty – which was scored by David Beckham.
His only managerial experience comes from his three years in charge at Spanish club Espanyol, which ended with is dismal in November. He will now take control of Southampton’s training session on Saturday and will be in charge for his first game on Monday night against Everton.
“This is the kind of opportunity that any coach would relish. Southampton is a club with great heritage, and an even more exciting future.
“There is a clear vision to take the club to a new era of sustained success in the Premier League, and beyond, which I’m delighted to be part of.”
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