Where next for Mauricio Pellegrino?

Colin Millar by Colin Millar / 14 March 2018, 09:24

Mauricio Pellegrino’s dismissal from Southampton on Monday evening was inevitable and the first clear sign the club are genuinely fearful of relegation.

The Argentine was one of only two managers (Eddie Howe, Bournemouth) not currently in the top seven, or at the helm of a promoted club, to have remained in his position from the start of the season. The Saints alarming run of form – just one victory in 17 league matches, at basement club West Brom – has dragged them into the mire at the foot of the table.

The 46-year-old had been appointed to replace Claude Puel in the summer but has not been able to land success along the South Coast. Many thought the sacking of Puel was harsh considering a top-half finish and reaching the League Cup final in his sole season in charge, but the decision was made due to a clash in transfer policy and his preferred style of play - regarded as dull and overly methodical.

In hindsight, the appointment of Pellegrino was poorly judged and it can be argued the Saints did not do their homework on the Argentine, who was regarded as one of the more cautious and defensive-minded coaches in La Liga. His success at Alaves last season was notable – guiding a squad of loanees and freebies to a top-half finish and the final of the Copa Del Rey. Yet he was not the man to bring success or more ambitious football to St. Mary’s.

Southampton have managed a meagre 29 goals in 30 outings in the top flight and whilst a large portion of the blame lies at Pellegrino’s door, he inherited an imbalanced squad. The current playing staff are not at the level of Mauricio Pochettino’s or Ronald Koeman’s charges, with a series of star exits not adequately replaced. The January sale of Virgil Van Dijk for a remarkable £75m was not reinvested and has left another gap in the squad.

Pellegrino was also out of luck with Charlie Austin – the squad’s one outstanding goal threat – who has been fit enough to start only five league games this campaign but has scored two more league goals (six) than anyone else in the squad. Marco Gabbiadini has misfired; new signing Guido Carrillo has not hit the ground running and Shane Long has lost his goal-scoring touch. It is arguable this regression is in part due to coaching but the players also must take a large amount of responsibility.

Southampton set to appoint Mark Hughes as Mauricio Pellegrino's replacement

Highly-regarded in Argentina (where he spent three years in spells across Estudiantes and Independiente) as well as Spain, it is unclear at this stage if Pellegrino will return to his native country although it would be unusual for a European-based boss to return home at a relatively early stage in his career.

He will no doubt have many admirers in La Liga – where he also spent time as a player and boss at Valencia - with his impact with Alaves still prominent in the minds of clubs and where a lack of cash and strong defensive organisation are more common, drawing parallels with his previous success. His understanding of the division and a return to his native language may prove too much of a pull.


Managers Departed

Last man down

David Wagner
David Wagner
(Huddersfield Town)
14th January
Next in firing line Hottest Manager Markets

Premier League

Next Manager to Leave


Next Manager


Next Manager

Bayern Munich

Next Manager


Next Manager


Next Manager

Huddersfield Town

Next Manager

Leeds United

Next Manager

Leicester City

Next Manager


Next Manager

Luton Town

Next Manager

Manchester United

Next Manager

Newcastle United

Next Manager

Real Madrid

Next Manager


Next Manager
Bet £10 & Get 6 x £5 FREE Bets for the Premier League

New customer offer, place a single €/£10 Sports bet on Wed, Thu or Fri and get a €/£5 free bet for every 3pm EPL game taking place on Sat 19th of January. Deposits using credit/debit cards or PayPal only. Free bets are only valid for the specified matches and are awarded at 10am on Sat 19th of January. Free bet stakes not returned with winnings. T&C’s Apply. 18+|Gamble Aware.

We use cookies to provide statistics that help give you the best experience of our site. By continuing to use the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more
Got It