Six Wins From Glory
Monday, 19th Feb 2018 11:13
They say in football that at any time a manager is only six games away from the sack or immortality, what will Mauricio Pellegrino be in six games time.
This is not meant to be a glorification of Mauricio Pellegrino or indeed any sort of justification as to whether he should have been sacked three months ago or indeed should be now, it is merely a comment on modern football where managers regularly go from being zero to hero and vice versa in double quick time.
Look at Leicester City, Claudio Ranieri's reward for taking them to the Premier League title, the Champions League and doing something that earned him the Premier League Manager Of The Year award was to be sacked halfway through the following season.
Look at Chelsea not only winning the Premier league won't guarantee your job, nor will winning the Champions League as Roberto Di Matteo found out.
At the other end of the scale one time Saints target Frank De Boer has found out the hard way at both Inter Milan and Crystal Palace that you have to hit the ground running at a new job or you are toast.
But Mauricio Pellegrino has bucked that trend so far, although some were on his back from an early part of his tenure in truth he had a solid rather than spectacular start that then went into sharp decline, after 7 games that saw only one win the alarm bells were ringing after a gutless display at Liverpool, a wn against Everton gave him a stay of execution but to be blunt any time since then could have seen him sacked but for some reason the board declined to do so.
That wasn't the first time that a Saints board has stuck by ther manager after a similar run of games as Pellegrino had when he went 12 Premier League games without a win.
Lawriw McMenemy won only 2 in a 21 game run that saw us relegated in his first season in 1973/74 and when he startd the following year with no wins in his first six games the writing was on the wall but the board kept faith, but they were different days.
Chris Nicholl started his first season without a win in the first half dozen league games and ended it with only 1 win and 7 defeats in his last 11 , but that was placated by an FA Cup semi final and he did have injury issues.
In 88/89 Nicholl went 17 games without a win in the League, a run that eclipses even Pellegrino's mere 12 in his winless streak and Saints were truly in the relegation mire before a Neil Ruddock injury time penalty gave them a vital win against Newcastle at the Dell.
Ian Branfoot had plenty of winless runs, but he usually managed to pick up a win or two along the way to not make them too long.
Alan Ball's season in 1994/95 is remembered as a triumph in that we finished 10th, played some great football and Matt le Tissier was scoring goals for fun 20 in 41 League games, but we still went 12 games in the middle of the season without a Premier League win to our name.
Dave Jones went 9 without a win at the start of 98/99 indeed only 1 win in the first 13 but kept his job till outside circumstances intervened.
Alan Pardew's career started with 7 League games without a win and even Mauricio Pochettino ended his half season in charge with 6 games without securing victory and had a spell in his second where although he managed a victory after six previous games without, he only won twice in 12.
So Mauricio Pellegrino is not alone in having an unnaceptable winless run and like the others it did not cost him his job, at least not at the time.
But after the win at West Bromwich Albion in the FA Cup, Pellegrino truly stands six games or to be more specific six wins away from either having the best season in the history of Southampton Football Club or one of the worst.
The undisputable fact is that if Mauricio Pellegrino wins six games and those games are three in the FA Cup and Three in the Premier League then he will be only the second Saints manager to win a major trophy and he will almost certainly keep Saints up in the Premier League meaning that he will have had the most succesful season ever of any Saints manager.
That is how fine the line is between success and failure for Mauricio Pellegrino, at the moment he stands on the cusp of either total success or total failure, in many respects there is no inbetween for him, althoughthis season has been totally unspectacular so far and he should have been sacked, he now has the chance to preside over our best season ever or go down in history as a total disaster.
So the next 3 months will be very interesting, certainly he has some important games in the League to take care of, if he does that then perhaps we can find a run or form that we have not managed to find since the departure of Ronald Koeman who was the last man to win 3 League games in a row almost two years ago now.
Personally although I have felt for a long time that Mauricio Pellegrino is not the man for the job, I would equally be very happy to eat my words at Wembley in May.
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