Southampton have unveiled former Alaves boss Mauricio Pellegrino as their new manager, with the Argentine signing a three-year deal to take charge at St. Marys’ Stadium.
Despite leading the Saints to an eighth place finish and reaching the League Cup final last season, Frenchman Claude Puel was sacked after just one season in charge last week.
In a statement on the club’s website, Pellegrino said he was delighted to take charge at Southampton and cannot wait to get started to bring success to the club.
“I am excited and passionate about what the future holds for us,” said the 45-year-old.
“I look forward to meeting the players and beginning our preparation for the new season. The club has a great reputation for having a strong and stable structure, competing in the Premier League and playing attractive football.
“We have to be a team on and off the pitch. I want to make the supporters proud of the players and to feel part of the game every week. I want to win matches, be successful and develop a team spirit where everyone gives 100 per cent and supports each other.”
It won’t be Pellegrino’s first spell in England having made 13 appearances for Liverpool in 2005 and also served as the Reds assistant manager under Rafael Benitez between 2008 and 2010.
He began his managerial career in charge of Valencia, in which he was sacked after just seven months, and also managed Argentine sides Independiente and Estudiantes, before returning to Spain in 2016.
He stepped down as gaffer of Alaves in late May after just one season with the club, in which he guided the club to a ninth place in La Liga and reached the Spanish Cup final.
Southampton vice-chairman Les Reed said Pellegrino impressed with his knowledge and passion for the club and has no doubt that the former Valencia centre-back will be a huge success.
“We firmly believe Mauricio is the right person to help us take the next steps,” said the 64-year-old.
“Mauricio impressed us throughout with his depth of knowledge, motivation and ability, communicating this in a professional and passionate way. His style of play and aspiration matches the philosophy, culture and ambition of the club.
“Mauricio believes with the quality we have we can play exciting, attacking football, taking the game to our opponents by playing a high-intensity game. He will continue to develop and introduce young players whilst building on the core of experience that we have in the squad.”
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) June 23, 2017
I don’t know a lot about Mauricio Pellegrino but the Argentine did enjoy a very successful spell with Alaves last season, as he gets set for his first spell in charge in the Premier League.
He does not come to St.Mary’s as a complete stranger having played and coached at Liverpool a few years ago, but Pellegrino does have very high expectations to meet as manager of the Saints.
Puel was sacked after an eight place finish and as runners-up in the EFL Cup, so the target for him this season with likely be to qualify for Europa League football. This squad is capable of doing so, but he needs to hang onto his best players.
His first job will be to keep Liverpool away of nabbing more Saints players, as the Reds chase defender Virgil van Dijk. With a few more signings, Southampton should have no problems in achieving yet another top ten finish.