Pressure rises on Pellegrino after Newcastle defeat

Mauricio Pellegrino can count himself incredibly lucky to still be in a job if he indeed remains as Southampton manager following his team’s latest humiliating performance.

Pellegrino

Maurico Pellegrino has won just one of his last 17 Premier League games. Image : BBC Solent Sport

The Argentine has won just five of his 30 league games as Saints manager, with the only ray of light under his reign being a run to the FA Cup quarter final.

The Newcastle game was seen as a must win. The Magpies were a point ahead of Saints at the start of play, and following dropped points against Burnley and Stoke, this was one of the last winnable games that Pellegrino’s side had left to play.

Despite the importance of the game, though, the side applied themselves with the same lack of intensity, the same lack of attacking intent, and, quite frankly, the same lack of effort that has characterised the season as a whole.

Pellegrino’s team selection set the tone for the game. Josh Sims was dropped despite being one of the only players to come out of the Stoke game positively. This is just the latest example of Pellegrino dropping players after playing well, leading to the disjointed performances and inability to create any sort of momentum that we have seen all season.

Saints boasted 63% of the possession, but once again failed to do anything with the ball. Against a Newcastle side with one of the weaker defences in the league, Saints managed just one shot in the first half.

The boss came out after the game and said: “I haven’t seen a performance like that all season.”

Fans will certainly disagree with that. Take the 5-2 Boxing day loss at Spurs, a 3-0 loss at Liverpool, losing 2-0 at home to Watford, or the 4-1 loss at home to Claude Puel’s Leicester.

The Saints face a break from league action as they face Wigan in the FA Cup next weekend, and there is an international break before the next round of league fixtures, where Saints travel to fellow crisis club West Ham.

Surely now is the perfect time to give a new manager time to bed in, learn about the squad, and prepare for the final run-in. Of course, the board is far too stubborn to do this, and fans will be met with yet more inaction and silence.

The problems with Southampton FC go far deeper than Pellegrino, but what is for sure is, that with him at the helm, the Championship awaits.

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Saints struggling to get to grips with the big boys

Fitting isn’t it, that my first post comes at a time which brings me back in time to when I first started watching saints. But with 0 points from 4 games, the saints are rock bottom. There are a few reasons that this hasn’t surprised me as well as the small group of realistic fans that where there in the dark days of League 1.

The first is of course that the fixture list wasn’t particularly kind. Playing┬álast season’s top 3 is, you could say, a baptism of fire, however having watched 3 of the 4 games so far, they only have themselves to blame.

Throwing away leads against both Manchester clubs was particularly frustrating, as both games showed that defensive errors don’t go unpunished at this level. I was also unfortunate enough to go to the Wigan game, which the highlight was probably the Wigan fans chanting ‘Di Santo’ to the tune of ‘Gold’, which was mildly amusing. I won’t bother mentioning the Arsenal game as it showed how out of their depth saints are.

The second reason the current situation doesn’t suprise me is the lack of suitable investment in the squad. Personally, the only player in the defence I deem to ever be a premier league player is Nathaniel Clyne, who has decent potential ahead of him. The addition of Yoshida, a Japanese centreback, was much needed, but much more quality was needed to be added. Upfront is a different matter, but also the same. There seems a lack of quality up top, however the quantity is much higher. The additions of Mayuka and Rodriguez didn’t help with the overcrowding in the attacking department. This allowed Billy Sharp to go out on loan, which is a shame as I think he would be a useful impact player to complement Lambert up front. However, Ramirez looks a decent capture and I’m sure J-Rod will start scoring when he gets played in position, not on the wing.

However, after a difficult start, let’s make sure the season starts here, at home to Villa on saturday and the saints make their way up the table. In Nigel we trust. COYR.