Despite leading the team to back-to-back promotions, it was announced by the club that Adkins had been relieved of his duties this morning.[quote align=”left” name=”Nicola Cortese” role=”Executive Chairman”]This decision has been made with the long-term ambitions of Southampton Football Club in mind. Whilst we acknowledge the contribution Nigel has made during the past two years, for the Club to progress and achieve our long-term targets a change was needed.[/quote]
Southampton currently sit 15th in the Premier League, 3 points clear of the relegation zone, and have recently seen a upturn in form – including coming back from 2-0 down to draw at Chelsea on Wednesday – with only 2 defeats in their last 12 league games.
However, it was believed Southampton’s Chairman, Nicola Cortese, has doubts over Adkins’ ability to manage in the Premier League, with rumours he had already had contact with Christian Gross and Roberto Di Matteo.
Instead, Southampton have appointed Mauricio Pochettino as first team manager.
Pochettino, 40, is an Argentinean who spent most of career at Espanyol, with 275 appearances for the Spanish clubs, as well as spells with French clubs PSG and Bordeaux. He also played at international level and, most infamously, was the defender who fouled Michael Owen for the David Beckham penalty that led England to a 1-0 win over the South American Nation during the 2002 World Cup.
He was appointed manager of Espanyol in 2009 and led them for three years, but was sacked in November with the club sitting bottom of La Liga.
In an official statement, Cortese said that:
“‘Mauricio is a well-respected coach of substantial quality who has gained a reputation as an astute tactician and excellent man manager. I have every confidence that he will inspire our talented squad of players to perform at the highest possible level.”
Nonetheless, his appointment is likely to be controversial with Adkins a fan-favourite at the club due to his successful reign.