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Premier League

Nigel Adkins sacked by Southampton, immediately replaced with Mauricio Pochettino

Decision to part with Adkins comes as a major shock

Southampton have sacked manager Nigel Adkins and replaced him with Mauricio Pochettino.

The south coast club have confirmed on their website that Adkins has been relieved of his duties with immediate effect.

He has been replaced with the 40-year-old former Espanyol coach Pochettino. The Argentine will be in place for Southampton's clash with Everton on Monday night.

Explaining the decision on Southampton's official website, Pochettino was desribed as a coach who, "has earned a reputation as one of the most talented young coaches in European football thanks to an impressive spell in La Liga with Espanyol."

"The Argentine was widely linked with a future role at one of Spain’s top clubs, but having left Espanyol in November now joins Southampton to continue his top-flight managerial career."

Adkins had been among the favourites for the chop this season following the Saints' disastrous start to the season in which they won just one of their first 11 Premier League games.

However the promoted side have seen a revival in fortunes of late, most notably coming from two goals down at Stamford Bridge to draw 2-2 just this week.

Recent results have also seen Southampton escape the clutches of the relegation zone, with the south coast club currently sitting above Newcastle in 15th place.

In Southampton's statement, Adkins was thanked for his services.

"The Club would like to thank Nigel Adkins for his service over the past three seasons, and wish him well for the future."

Pochettino's appointment comes out of nowhere, and few in England will be familiar with his previous roles.

During his playing career he represented Espanyol, Paris St Germain and Bordeux. He also represented Argentina, amassing 20 caps in an international career that will be best remembered on these shores for the moment he took down Michael Owen at the 2002 World Cup. David Beckham scored the resulting penalty as England won 1-0.

Pochettino has only managed at Espanyol, where he spent three years in charge. During his first season he steered them away from the relegation to a comfortable position, a finish they also enjoyed during the 2010/11 campaign.

However a disastrous start to the current season in which Espanyol accumulated just nine points from 13 matches saw Pochettino leave by mutual consent.

Southampton executive chairman Nicola Cortese said: “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.

“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.

“He also shares my belief that the most successful clubs are built by nurturing young players through a development system that provides a clear path to the First Team, thereby creating a culture that keeps them at the Club for the long term. This is an approach he has employed with great success in the past and I look forward to him bringing that experience and expertise to Southampton.” 

Pochettino said:  “This is the kind of opportunity that any coach would relish. Southampton is a club with great heritage, and an even more exciting future. There is a clear vision to take the Club to a new era of sustained success in the Premier League, and beyond, which I’m delighted to be part of.”.

Adkins joined Southampton from Scunthorpe in 2010 and he guided the Saints into the Premier League with back-to-back promotions.

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