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Pellegrino Now Has To Show He Can Get It Right !
Tuesday, 6th Feb 2018 10:57

There is no doubt that Mauricio Pellegrino inherited some "issues" when he arrived at St Mary's, but there has also been much of his own making, can he now get it right !

In hindsight the issues with Virgil Van Dijk were a big influence on the first half of the season, Saints wanted to avoid a third summer of their supporters going into meltdown and accusing the club of selling at the first opportunity decided to make a stand to show that they wanted to keep the squad together.

In hindsight that was folly although hopefully the one lesson to be learned by the supporters is that when you have a player whose head has been turned by the lure of a Big Six club and money, it is hard to keep him contract or no contract, the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama showed that some players when forced to stay will knuckle down and earn their wages, Jose Fonte and Virgil Van Dijk showed that others prefer to take another route.

The first half of the season seemingly saw the club and manager try to persuade Van Dijk to stay by playing him whatever whilst Wesley Hoedt and Yoshida were rotated, despite the fact that they were the ones loyal to the club and actually wanted to play.

By December the club had had enough of Van Dijk and just wanted him out, clearly his attitude was disruptive and affecting the squad's morale.

Since Van Dijk's departure was announced Saints have played 8 games, starting with a fine draw at Old Trafford they have lost only once and slowly and almost without people noticing have put together a run of form, that although only including one win has shown that the squad is united.

But our issues this season have not just been caused by Van Dijk, the truth is that the manager has not done the job to the standard expected from a man of his experience, his team selections have been puzzling, but his substitutions have been far worse with the feeling that if he had made the right ones at the right times then perhaps we would have a few points more on the board and relegation would not be a reality but a distant worry.

But it looks like Pellegrino has weathered the storm, at least for the moment, 1 defeat in 8 is not a bad record and although not brilliant 7 points out of 6 games in the Premier League is moving forward and that ratio is improving, 6 out of the last 4 if maintained would see us easily avoid relegation.

So the manager has bought a stay of execution, but he now has to show that he has learn't his lessons, that he can not only make the right selections, but also those substitutions at the right moments, at West Brom he gave us all hope that he could do both of those things and it cannot be denied that the squad played with passion and for the first time in a while as a team.

I cannot deny that I am still unsure about Pellegrino, I would have happily seen him sacked at any time over the past two months, I thought it was beyond repair, but the last six games have shown that perhaps it is not and it has been done under the radar.

Hopefully we can continue this improvement, certainly we will lose a game or two and these will be setbacks, but the manager has to make sure that they remain that, just setbacks and not catalysts for a meltdown.

But now he has a little more weapons in his armoury, he has Guido Carrillo, he will shortly have back Charlie Austin and if he uses both Lemina and Hoedt well two players who have not played as much as they should have done earlier in the season.

Yes we could have done with a player or two more in the transfer window, but the reality is that Pellegrino has a better squad available to him that Claude Puel had at this time last year when he had lost both his central defenders in the space of a couple of weeks.

That squad of last year has seen three additions in Lemina, Hoedt and Carrillo and the also the emergence of Pierre Emile Hojbjerg, the point is that if Pellegrino can get this squad playing then he can perhaps make this season reasonable after all with a decent league placing and perhaps a good run in the cup.

Last season Pule finished the season by earning 13 points in the last 12 games, not a brilliant record, but one that if we emulate this year will see us stay up,but truth is we need to better it and by doing so could hope to finish higher than the 15th place we currently occupy.

So the ball is in Pellegrino's court, can he finally show why he was appointed in the first place , why the board have shown such faith in him and that by doing so that the squad is not the relegation fodder that some Saints fans would have you believe.

As I said I still need to be convinced that he is the man for the job, but it looks like he is here to stay, at least for the rest of the season, that being the case all Saints fans need to consider what they want from this season, if it is the team to stay up and even get to Wembley, then they need to get behind it and stay behind it, in truth at the matches the match going supporters have, its those who take to social media who have created a toxic atmosphere on line.

The alternative is to get on the managers back and make it harder for the team to drag itself clear from the relegation zone, do we really want that ?

Personally I wan't him to succeed, I have nothing against him personally, I want him to show us he is the man to take Southampton Football Club forward, not just this season but next and the years after that.

So now Mauricio Pellegrino has no excuses, the ball is firmly in his court to show us he has what it takes and that we should all get behind him.

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1970 added 11:24 - Feb 6
M-Pe is exactly what this Saints board have wished for for years, a decent man that wont ask awkward questions ,loved by the players and staff always saying the right things and genuinely happy to be given the chance to manage and get a decent pay cheque, as fans we need just to get behind whatever team our sports science allows Pellegrino to pick every week but you and I know that the player(s) that stands out in our team over the season will be sold that is a guarantee coyr.

Sanguin added 11:30 - Feb 6
I think if we stay out of the relegation zone between now and the end of the season then Pellegrino will get another season. It’s early but Carrillo looks like exactly the kind of player that Pellegrino needs to fit his system. A few transfers in the summer and I’m confident we can kick on and do better next season.

Bertrand’s contract runs until 2021 so unless a big club comes in for him and he has his head turned, then I think we’ll get another season out of him. If a big club doesn’t show any interest then I think he’ll see out his career at St Mary’s. I don’t expect Lemina to go this summer although there will be interest if his performance for the rest of the season matches the West Brom game.

If we sign Quincy Promes and ship out some deadwood in the summer I’ll be happy. I’d also like to see another centre back, but our current crop has half a season to improve their aerial defending and prove that another signing isn’t needed. Some of the under-23s are looking promising.

I checked today and noticed that Stephens, McQueen, Redmond, Hoedt and Ward-Prowse are all born in 1994 (turn 24 this year). Boufal and Lemina are both born in 1993. Hojberg and McQueen are 1995!

arthurfane added 11:51 - Feb 6
I so desperately want to see Pellegrino succeed at Southampton. Frustration has got the better of me this season & I've joined the #PellegrinoOut brigade. He's repeatedly not learnt from his mistakes, employed the same (lack of?) tactics, and the form speaks for itself.

I sincerely hope West Brom is the turning point - yes, it is only a 2-3 victory against bottom of the league, but a win is a win and the performance was encouraging. It won't be easy to follow it with points against Liverpool, but thereafter we have a run of 5 winnable games.

Agree with Sanguin that if we stay up, Pellegrino will be given another nod of confidence. Chop and change isn't a long term solution - showing faith in a manager is. Whether he is the right manager is still very much up for debate though. Fingers crossed he's learnt from his mistakes and starts more regularly employing the attacking style we so crave...

SaintNick added 12:00 - Feb 6
1970, I am saddened by the cynical outlook in your post, it suggests to me that you no longer go to games, that you have become disallusioned with football and can gain no enjoyment from your team anymore.

But I do have to pull you up on your points, why is M-Pe the man the board have always wished for, that discription was hurled at Claude Puel last year.

Sports science doesnt pick the team, it is an asset and can help the manager, but as of yet there is no actual evidence it is used to pick the team, if it was then why have players like Hoedt and Hojbjerg etc continually been dropped when the stats are saying they are the best man on the pitch in their position.

Yes we know that when players get to a certain level they will be sold, but this is surely testimony to how well Les Reed etc are doing, if they keep finding and producing players to these levels then they will attract interest, the time to worry is when no one is interested in our players, that means the system is not working.

You say that is guaranteed, well we didnt sell Schneiderlin, we didnt sell Wanyama and we didnt sell Van Dijk at the first opportunity, we try to work to a timescale, but as Van Dijk showed when the player suddenly decides that he doesnt wish to stick to the schedule agreed, then the club has problems.

But this isnt just a Saints problem, you will notice the absence of a certain Phillipe Coutinho when Liverpool arrive on Sunday, also ironically they have received £186 million in transfer fees this season and spent only £118 million, (Salah comes in last seasons figures) the year before they received £80 million and spent £101 million) in comparison Saints have received £87 million and spent £60 million.

Compare the to clubs over two seasons and we have Liverpool having spent £47 million less than they received and Saints about £38 million

Shows that things arent that much different in transfers, you can never spent what you get in because you have to pay out signing on fees, agents fees and as we did to celtic sometimes a big chunk to a previous club, indeed if you just take out the money that we paid to Celtic £10-12 million that reduces down transfer profit substatially

landerwal added 12:06 - Feb 6
Lemina is key to whether we move forward or back now. He is the leader we have been lacking exemplified on Saturday by the casual way he knocked the ball out of Boufal's hands to JWP to show who was taking the free kick. If MP does not make him a permanent fixture in the team we will struggle. With him in the team we will stay up no problem and hopefully have a good cup run.

bstokesaint added 12:28 - Feb 6
Despite being a big critic I’d still love MP to leave egg on my face. I want us to have some consistency and stop chopping and changing, but I also want to have some faith in the manager’s tacticasl decisions. If he can get some results against some of the big boys then he may get a stay of execution, but he’s still got a lot of proving himself to do before the end of the season. I don’t feel that either Puel or MP have been helped by bad transfer windows, which is maybe why the latter has been cut some slack.

saintmark1976 added 12:37 - Feb 6
Wow Nick, somebody got out of bed the wrong side this morning.

Your comments concerning 1970 sound as though you are marking his homework. He's entitled to his point of view,even if you think it's the wrong one.

Your running a digital fanzine where all points of view should be welcomed. With respect, your not the editor of Pravda.

highfield49 added 12:46 - Feb 6
Well, as nobody has mentioned it yet, could it be significant that the turn around in form is not only linked to the departure of VVD but also one Eric Black? I'm biased, cos I never could see what he contributed beyond the capacity to speak some French, but Puel was certainly in no rush to add him to the coaching staff at Leicester.

underweststand added 12:53 - Feb 6
Although your headline has a clear meaning Nick, it's probably more of a case of our " strike force " getting it right. We have a situation where - in Charlie Austin's absence - we have defenders and midfielders amongst the leading scorers.

It has to be said that with almost 300 shots this season, we have converted barely 10%of them. whilst If there were a competition for " Miss of the Season " ...Shane Long would win it outright. Shame because I like Long's dedication, hard-running and effort but let's face it .. he should have scored much more, and I noted that a survey last week showed that Saints were in 3rd position in the Prem....for most shots against the woodwork -13 at the last count.

Pellegrino selects his side based on who knows how many factors, but the reality is what we see on the pitch - and at times it has been dire. It takes time to get back from injury , and at last Lemina has found his form, and let no-one expect Charlie Austin to return to his previous good form in his fírst game back -whenver that is ?

Despite the "low-standard opposition" on Saturday, we showed some real spirit, and we can only hope that we have turned the corner at last.


Consigliere added 12:54 - Feb 6
Good article but I disagree that it was folly to make a stand against Van Dyke - As Voltaire says, "Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres –

"In this country, it is wise to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others."

SaintNick added 14:24 - Feb 6
For the record I have nothing against 1970, I agreed with him in many ways about the way that football has gone, but I cant agree on the negative comments about the club, I respected his opinion, I didnt call him names, I merely pointed out why thought he was wrong

InsideOut added 14:41 - Feb 6
@Consigliere. I'm not so sure about the Voltaire quote. He wrote to encourage the others, not to discourage them. They've been killing their leaders since the Frankish kingdoms were first united under one ruler, when most of the original kings were murdered by their own sons who were conned into believing they would be taking their place. Back stabbing your boss/captain even your friends is quite normal in France. So I think Voltaire meant by killing admirals the others would be encouraged when the existing order changes, providing hope to the ambitions of all the lesser ranks.

So in Virgil's case, that translates to letting him get his big payday to encourage the ambitions of the other players, n'est ce pas ?

@Saintnick, thanks for trying to make this site a better place to talk football. However, I think you need to buy a new calculator, perhaps one with a memory ;)

SanMarco added 15:01 - Feb 6
Voltaire quoted on TUI - what next? He was actually talking about the BRITISH shooting Admiral Byng - shoot one and the others will up their game. I am not sure that keeping VVD for a few weeks is quite the same as shooting him Consig (would have played havoc with his sale value).

As for the article - one win does not mean we are safe but it would seem to be getting rather late to sack MP now.

Consigliere added 15:27 - Feb 6
Guilty as charged!

One of the real pleasures of this site is debating with other pedants.

(I think you know what I really meant though).

SanMarco added 16:11 - Feb 6
To be very pedantic your original post made sense to me Consig - I was just showing off my knowledge of the battle of Menorca + thought InsideOut using British misbehaviour to have a pop at the French needed a rebuttal...

Bettwsresident added 16:31 - Feb 6
March will be key...we need at least 10 pts from those 5 games or else we will be in the doo doo's. The 5 of the last 6 games are tough and unless we are playing really, really well we are not going to be climbing the table once April has started. We have to be safe by April fools day...

aceofthebase added 17:57 - Feb 6
You have all angles covered Nick. It's noted that you have wanted to sack MP. On the other hand you are a good boy and want him to be supported. You want everyone who has scored a goal to start every game (unless his name is Yoshida).

And lo behold anyone who doesn't agree with you!

A_Saint_in_Stoke added 19:26 - Feb 6
A good post that very much reflects my recent posts and views. If you look back I was full in the backing of Pellegrino - yes give him a chance to bed in, as I feel that " The manager merry-go-round " is no good for any club and who needs stability. Although we saw Pellegrino give some really weird team selection/substitutions, I thought well it's early days. I REALLY got the jitters at the beginning of NOV after the Burnley game at St Mary's - when yet again Pellegrino made NEGATIVE substitutions resulting in sitting back ( trying to hold onto one point at home ) while Sean Dyche went POSITIVE with his SUBS - went for it - and won the game. That was the first time that I highlighted " Hang on - should our form not improve we could easily be dragged into a relegation dogfight here ". Then when our esteemed manager in an after match video came out with and said " Sometimes we did well, sometimes we did bad but I will continue fighting for my ideas.
note - I will continue fighting for my ideas ..... YES, HE IS FOLLOWING HIS WEIRD IDEA'S and has not come away from them - until he HAD TO AGAINST WBA.

I mean " Who in their right mind would drop Lamina and our 3 other expensive signings when we had such a crunch match at home to Brighton!" To my mind "The jury is still out " as it seems that he doesn't learn from his mistakes.

I only hope that Pellegrino thinks much more positively - and serves us up some exciting attacking football like we were promised that he would when taking over, and he also takes on board that boring DRAWS at home only wins one point BUT GOALS WINS YOU GAMES and picks an attacking team where possible.


InsideOut added 19:42 - Feb 6
@SanMarco thanks for the history tips, I like that stuff. But I wasn't really having a pop at the French, as anyone who knew me would understand. Just a bit of fun really.

SanMarco added 20:54 - Feb 6
I was just being pedantic InsideOut...

KriSaint added 22:19 - Feb 7
I hope M-Pe will make Tadic lift his performance level significantly in the no. 10 position behind new team mate Carrillo. We saw glimpses of a good understanding between the two against WBA. Many of us incl. myself have forgotten how well Tadic can play when playing behind a big striker.

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