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Over the last few years, Southampton have seen a lot of managers come and go. They were hammered when they replaced Nigel Adkins with Mauricio Pochettino in January 2013 but the Argentine justified the decision and excelled for 18 months before taking over at Tottenham.
Ronald Koeman was next in line and he did do well during his two years in charge as he took them into Europe before jumping ship to Everton. Then came Frenchman Claude Puel, who had a strange year in charge last season, reaching, and then unfortunately losing the League Cup final to Manchester United. After that, his reign fizzled out as they became dull and boring to watch.
Last but not the least, Mauricio Pellegrino came in. He took charge of Southampton after having started his coaching career alongside Rafa Benitez at Liverpool. He has had mixed spells in charge of Valencia, Estudiantes, Independiente and Alaves before taking over at Southampton. Unfortunately for him, the Saints have not really benefited much from his tutelage so far.
Southampton are still struggling for goals at home. They have managed just 6 goals in as many Premier League games at St. Mary’s, and all does not seem to be completely well among the players either, especially after their recent defeat against Burnley. It’s been speculated for a while now and a possible sacking could be on the cards.
The Saints lost 0-1 to a late Burnley winner, and are on a poor run right now. There seems to be a clear lack of creativity among the ranks. Seemingly, the hosts ran out of ideas in the second half and dropped to 13th place after their third home defeat of the season. Striker Manolo Gabbiadini is the Saints’ leading scorer so far this season, having scored 3 of his side’s 9 goals, but he could not add to that tally against Burnley’s resolute backline. To salvage the situation, Pellegrino replaced him with Charlie Austin but that did not really yield results.
While Burnley upped the tempo, Southampton’s threat receded and the lack of spark in front of goal must worry Pellegrino after 11 games of the season. Redmond and full-back Ryan Bertrand looked dangerous from the flanks, but there was a lack of penetration through the middle, much to the frustration of some Southampton fans, who will be looking for better performances from their side after the international break.
Meanwhile, the general atmosphere seems to be a bit off – especially when it comes to some of the players. For example, when Sofiane Boufal scored a late winner against West Brom last week, the forward made a point of going over to celebrate in front of Pellegrino. The forward is clearly not happy at being a mere super sub, and one cannot blame him for that.
There seems to some issues at the club with regards to team selection. James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond made the England squad last season and now they regularly find themselves on the bench. The thing about football is that it can create a vicious, never-ending cycle of players’ forms dipping due to lack of sufficient game time. Redmond, a bright prospect when he joined Southampton, is clearly waning as far his potential is concerned.
Thus, it is not just the fact that Southampton are in dreadful form right now – there are a number of things going wrong for them simultaneously. Unless Pellegrino turns things around soon, he could become the latest Premier League manager to get sacked.