LONDON: English Premier League side Southampton named Argentinian coach Mauricio Pellegrino as their new manager on Friday to replace Claude Puel, who was sacked after just one season.
The 45-year-old Pellegrino, who had been in charge of Alaves in Spain, has agreed a three-year contract at St Mary’s and will officially join up with Southampton next week, the club said.
“I am really happy to become the new coach of Southampton Football Club. The club has a great reputation for having a strong and stable structure, competing in the Premier League and playing attractive football,” said Pellegrino.
He added: “I think my philosophy and the culture of the club will work well together.
“We have to be a team on and off the pitch. I want to make the supporters proud of the players and to feel part of the game every week.
“I want to win matches, be successful and develop a team spirit where everyone gives 100 percent and supports each other.
“I am excited and passionate about what the future holds for us and look forward to meeting the players and beginning our preparation for the new season.”
Pellegrino is the second Argentinian to manage the south coast club Saints, with Mauricio Pochettino in charge of Southampton before moving to Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Puel, 55, took Southampton to a respectable eighth-place finish in the table and to the League Cup final, where they were defeated by Manchester United.
But that was not enough to prevent the Frenchman being sacked amid complaints regarding his “unattractive” style of football.
Last season saw Pellegrino guide Alaves to the Copa del Rey final in his only campaign in charge, having previously had spells as manager of Valencia, Independiente and Estudiantes.
The former Argentina international worked as a member of Rafael Benitez’s backroom staff at both Liverpool and Inter Milan.
– ‘Aspiration’ –
Southampton vice-chairman Les Reed said the club had been impressed by both Pellegrino’s character and approach to football.
“I am delighted that after a diligent selection process we have recruited Mauricio Pellegrino as our new first-team manager,” Reed said.
“We had an impressive list of candidates and went through a comprehensive interview process. Mauricio impressed us throughout with his depth of knowledge, motivation and ability, communicating this in a professional and passionate way.
“He has an excellent understanding of the Southampton way, and his style of play and aspiration matches the philosophy, culture and ambition of the club.
“We firmly believe Mauricio is the right person to help us take the next steps. He knows our players and believes we have a great squad that with some fine-tuning will be able to deliver continued success.
“Mauricio believes with the quality we have we can play exciting, attacking football, taking the game to our opponents by playing a high-intensity game.
“He will continue to develop and introduce young players whilst building on the core of experience that we have in the squad.
“We are looking forward to working with Mauricio to take the club forward and achieve more success with this team.”