Leicester City boss Claude Puel returns to Southampton eager to prove a pointby Jack Kitson / 12 December 2017, 12:03Tweet
Former Southampton manager Claude Puel returns to his former stomping ground on Wednesday night looking to show his old employers exactly what they are missing.
Last season Puel led Saints to 8th spot, a League Cup final, and a memorable Europa League victory over Inter Milan, however his style of play was deemed too dull and negative, costing him his job at St Mary's.
But, the Frenchman made a surprise return to the Premier League dugout in October, replacing the axed Craig Shakespeare at Leicester City. It was fair to say that an underwhelming reception greeted his appointment, but the 56-year-old - who has won Ligue 1 - has been quick to swat away the doubters after leading the rejuvenated Foxes to four wins from seven games, suffering just the one defeat - to leaders Man City.
Puel’s successor at Southampton, Mauricio Pellegrino, has endured a mixed start to life at St Mary’s, registering only four wins from 17 league and cup matches so far, with the club 11th in the table with 18 points from 16 games.
Saints may only have one win from their last seven matches but their performances of late have significantly improved, with free-scoring Charlie Austin shining. The club hammered Everton 4-1, before agonisingly losing to all-conquering Man City in the 96th minute. This was followed by a 1-1 draw away to south coast rivals Bournemouth, and then in their last outing Pellegrino’s troops were excellent against Arsenal, but were again undone by a late strike, costing them two points.
Pellegrino will now be targeting a third home win in five matches, but standing in his way is former Saint Puel...
"I respect the ex-manager, Claude is doing a good job because Leicester are getting a lot of points and they won important games in a row.”
(Quote: Daily Echo)
Puel’s Leicester outfit are brimming with confidence and attacking intent, in stark contrast to the end of his tenure at goal-shy Saints, who were labelled dull and defensive.
Some footy hacks and Leicester fans desperately trying to delete what they said about Claude Puel's appointment. Four wins, two draws and one defeat...14 points out of 21...now 8th in PL.— Christopher Davies (@Chrisdavies1966) December 9, 2017
Puel takes his troops (8th) down to the south coast on the back of three straight wins over Tottenham, Burnley, and Newcastle, and now he’d no doubt love nothing more than to make it four victories on the spin away to his former side.
Ahead of the clash Puel told Leicester Mercury:
“I think it will be a strange feeling of course. It will be strange going back to the St Mary’s Stadium but it will be nice to see some familiar faces of course. But the most important thing is to keep a good focus about my team and players and try to make a strong game.
“I hope the fans remember our good times of course, like the journey in the cup and the final. It was great at Wembley. They are good memories. It was their first final since 2003 I think. It was a great moment. Also, with games against inter Milan home and away, we took 8,000 fans for the journey. It is fantastic. They remember the good times we shared.”
Puel’s Leicester head into the game priced at 3/1 to grab the win, with Saints available at 11/20, while a draw can be backed at 5/2.
Who would've guessed that a Ligue 1 title winner & Champions League semi-finalist with 18 years top flight experience would be a good manager???— John Bennett (@JohnBennettBBC) December 9, 2017
Claude Puel continues to prove (some) people wrong . #LCFC