Southampton have sacked manager Mauricio Pellegrino after a worrying slump which has seen the club slip down the Premier League and into a relegation battle.
Pellegrino’s side won only one of their past 17 league games, falling to 17th in the table, and with nine matches remaining the club’s hierarchy have decided the Argentine is not the right man to arrest the slump.
Southampton will look to make a swift appointment following the 46-year-old’s departure. After Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final at Wigan Athletic, Saints have three weeks before their next Premier League game, against fellow strugglers West Ham on 31 March.
The former Watford manager Marco Silva is among the possible candidates, although it is understood he is considering a return to Portugal this summer.
Pellegrino took over from Claude Puel in June and was charged with building upon last season’s eighth-place finish while freeing the players from the Frenchman’s conservative approach. However the team have struggled in front of goal, and he departs with Southampton one place and one point above the bottom three.
His final game was Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Newcastle. The match was billed as a crucial encounter in the relegation battle but Saints performed poorly and were easily beaten by Rafa Benitez’s side, and afterwards Pellegrino admitted his players “gave up” after falling behind.
Since returning to the Premier League in 2012, Southampton have been successful in managing a high turnover of managers and playing staff. However, over the past 18 months there has been considerable dissatisfaction among supporters over the style of play instilled by both Puel and Pellegrino, while the protracted departure of standout defender Virgil can Dijk has been disruptive both on and off the pitch.
“The club will look to appoint a new management team as soon as possible,” Southamtpon said in a statement on their website. “The search for a replacement [is] already underway.”
Assistant manager Carlos Compagnucci and assistant first-team coach Xavier Tamarit have also left the club.