Mauricio Pellegrino - An Overview
Wednesday, 14th Mar 2018 08:52
Mauricio Pellegrino did not have much sympathy amongst Saints fans when he was sacked and will go down in the memory of many as one of the worst managers in the history of the club, but how fair is that ?
This sacking of Mauricio Pellegrino was a rareity in that it happened in mid season, the first time that has happened in five years, with the three previous incumbents of the job all leaving in the close season.
Nigel Adkins was the last man to be sacked during an actual season and prior to him it was a regular occurrence and between the appointment of Dave Jones in the summer of 1997 and the sacking of Adkins in January 2013, of the 12 permanent managers from Jones to Adkins inclusive, only one Mark Wotte actually left the club in the summer after the season had ended.
Given that the departures of both Alan Pardew and Adkins himself where not exactly neccesities at the times and that the departure of Jan Poortvliet was going to change little either, we have to go back to the departure of George Burley in January 2008 to find a situation such as the current one when the manager really had to go , ironically in that season his replacement Nigel Pearson was like the likelihood in this, not a permanent but temporary to the end of the season, Pearson kept us up, let's hope that is a good omen.
After Adkins we got some stability up to now, so how will Pellegrino's time be viewed at the club.
It would be easy to blame him for all our woes and whilst there can be no doubt that he has to be held responsible, indeed accept much of the blame, it is not quite as simple as that.
Pellegrino like his predecessor Claude Puel arrived at a club with a problem and that problem was a key central defender wanting to leave for a payday and then becoming a disruptive influence both directly and indirectly.
Clearly in the first half of the season Van Dijk was being played above any of the other three candidates and the rotation between Hoedt and Yoshida meant we never seemed to get any settled defending. I think here Pellgrino was caught in the middle of a battle between the club who were determined to hold on to Van Dijk and treat him with kid gloves and a player who it became apparent was not putting in the effort and commitment to try and force a January move.
Also Pellegrino like Puel lost the services of Charlie Austin before Xmas and would be without his top scorer for basically the rest of his reign, the impact of that should not be forgotten in any analysis of either former manager.,
The two events can be linked in that both had big gaps in the centre of their defence and had to go defensive to plug those gaps, at Newcastle we saw how the team was ripped apart on the break and those that clamoured for two up front did not seem to realise that perhaps a defensive line up was more out of neccessity than choice at times, last Saturday Pellegrino played two defensive midfielders and three attacking, Newcastle read this like a book and went on the break.
Excuses over though, for Pellegrino certainly had the squad to do far better than he did, he chopped and changed and never seemed to know his best players for his rigid chosen formation, likewise he was appalling at making substitutions and that cost us vital points not least against Arsenal and Watford where he left on players who had clearly run their socks off and had nothing left in the tank and did not use his available subs not only for the fresh legs, but to run the clock down and break up the play with the opposition pushing for an equaliser.
All ifs and buts, but those four points would make our league position look a lot healthier today and indeed might have resored the players confidence not only in themselves but the manager.
But tat was the problem, Pellegrino never learn't by his mistakes, he never added those little touches that make a good manager, he did not have the tactical nous to make those key changes at the right time and that is why we sit where we are today.
Teams became well aware of how to deal with us and as Newcastle showed hit us in our weak spots at the back, indeed this season is littered with soft goals conceded from unmarked players in the box and on the break and Pellegrino did not seem to be able to fathom this out.
Mauricio Pellegrino was a decent man, he was not hated by Southampton fans as soe of his predecessors have been for various reasons, but he was a man out of his depth and given every chance to show that he wasn't.
He cannot and indeed is not complaining that he was not given enough time or that he could have turned it around etc as a lot of managers do when sacked, he has taken it on the chin and the only real comment he has made is about the fact that there were certain issues at the club and that is the truth.
Many consider him the worst manager in Saints history, statistically that is not the case, ironically one man with a worse win ratio is someone who we mentioned earlier came in and kept Saints up in the Championship Nigel Pearson, Pellegrino's win ratio is 23.53% whilst Pearsons is 21.43% and there are several others with less than Pellegrino although the only permanent manager of the club with less is Steve Wigley.
Pellegrino's demise will not be mourned, however it should not be celebrated, like Steve Wigley he was a decent man doing his best, it was a shame that that best was not good enough, his end should have been a lot earlier than it actually was, but that is not his fault.
As I always say though, it is not a crime to make a mistake, the real crime is not to rectify that mistake, Les Reed has now done that albeit later than he should have done, but we cannot change that now, we can only change the future, what is needed now if we are not only to avoid relegation but perhaps better, is for everyone to get behind whoever the new man is between now and the end of the season and help the club get out of trouble, it is no use crying about what has gone on, that is over, let's look to the future not to the past !
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