Can Southampton afford to stick with Mauricio Pellegrino?
- 2nd February 2018
SOUTHAMPTON became a model for the smaller club punching above its weight in the Premier League but it’s now getting to the point where that could all be about to unravel.
Technical director Les Reed does not have long to consider the options surrounding the manager Mauricio Pellegrino - the Argentine who jokes that his job is like sitting in an electric chair.
Well, does Reed turn the power up and shock his man into turning things around or reach for the plug and turn him off for good?
One win in 12 Premier League games. Pellegrino and his players need some sort of spark before it is too late and the club drops into the Championship.
This is when blokes like Reed are supposed to earn their money; advising the board on the best course of action and the choices should they cut their losses on Pellegrino who is clearly struggling with the job.
Pellegrino has lost defender Virgil van Dijk to Liverpool and replaced him with a striker in the kind of bold move that implies he is not too worried about clean sheets as long as Saints score more than the opposition.
But it’s the man in charge who is losing the battle to inspire his players to dig themselves out of a large hole and tomorrow is a key match at West Brom.
They are one of only two teams below Southampton in the table and Reed must be looking around at the teams in the relegation dogfight, seeing what they have done and getting itchy on the trigger finger.
West Brom ditched Tony Pulis and brought in Alan Pardew. A vibrant character and an experienced top flight coach. With last weekend’s thrilling FA Cup victory at Liverpool, there is a sense of an upturn for The Baggies.
Swansea City, the only other team looking up at Southampton, ditched Paul Clement and brought in Carlos Carvalhal.
Normally, troubled clubs go for British bosses to get them out of trouble but Carvalhal still has a proven record in our game having led Sheffield Wednesday twice in to the Championship play off final.
The instant response has been a remarkable upturn with a stunning victory over Arsenal that will do wonders for Welsh confidence.
Meanwhile, Southampton are limping along, in a rut. Misery and gloom enveloped around St.Mary’s like the drizzle and mist in the last home game against Tottenham.
Then they needed an own goal in the sixth minute to get a goal and even then couldn’t build on it to get a win, allowing Spurs to grab an equaliser through Harry Kane to sink back into depression.
West Ham are slowly inching away from trouble under David Moyes, Crystal Palace the same with Roy Hodgson in charge.
If you were Les Reed what would you do?
The links with Marco Silva are obvious but would he be the man to save Southampton?
It is now almost too late to get a new man in should Reed fire the manager. And where would he look?
Silva failed his relegation test with Hull City last season, he supposedly had his head turned by interest from Everton while at Watford and was given the boot subsequently.
If Saints want to hold out for Silva it’s a massive gamble. They could be a Championship club by then.