What to expect from Southampton under Mauricio Pellegrino?

by Mike Holden / 15 August 2017, 11:42

Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) takes a look at what we can expect from Mauricio Pellegrino and Southampton during the 2017/18 Premier League season.

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Background

The Claude Puel era won't be remembered with much affection on the south coast but results weren't quite as bad as the reaction to the Frenchman’s cautious tactics and wholesale squad rotation. The Saints finished eighth and were very unfortunate to lose the League Cup final to Manchester United. Had they lifted that first major trophy since 1976, then Puel would have surely remained in charge. Instead, they turn to Mauricio Pellegrino, a beaten Copa del Rey finalist with Alaves last season.

Personality

Pellegrino is a humble man from humble beginnings. The son of a farmer in rural Argentina, he is acutely aware of the problems caused in modern-day football by inflated salaries and players being surrounded by an entourage of helpers and advisors. His primary goal at St Mary’s appears to be one of communication, making sure the players respect each other and truly understand the meaning of teamwork. Ultimately, he is of the analyst temperament, someone who seeks to understand and rationalise the purpose of anything and everything.

Quote

"We are ready and looking forward to do our best. The players are fit, all of them, and this is good news. They are realising the demands of the manager and we have to keep going. We have done some experiments with players - James Ward-Prowse inside, Shane Long outside, and other players out of position. But I have to see different options for the future. You never know because football is changing all the time. We have players who can play (elsewhere) and that is good news for us."

Verdict

Southampton do their homework better than most when it comes to appointing new managers, so it would come as a shock if Pellegrino bombed out. The Hampshire club have a clear idea of their position in the overall scheme of things having finished eighth, seventh, sixth and eighth over the past four seasons. It’s questionable how much they can improve, though. This might be a season of relative transition as they embrace new ideas, from which the real payoff arrives 12 months down the line.

Prediction: 9th

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