Pellegrino sacked: Southampton target Marco Silva as next manager

Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino on the touch line during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Southampton at St. James Park

Pellegrino sacked: Southampton target Marco Silva as next manager

Mark Hughes is the leading candidate for the vacant managerial position after Southampton prioritised the need for Premier League experience and an immediate ability to galvanise their flagging squad.

Hughes, who was sacked by Stoke six days into the New Year, made 52 Premier League appearances for Southampton between 1998 and 2000 under Dave Jones then Glenn Hoddle, scoring just two goals before moving on to Everton.

Assistant manager Carlos Compagnucci and assistant first-team coach Xavier Tamarit have also parted company with the south coast club.

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The sacking of Pellegrino raises questions once more about Southampton's decision to fire Puel last summer.

The final straw for the Saints board was the spineless 3-0 defeat at Newcastle United on Saturday when Pellegrino accused some of his players of giving up.

Southampton, who sold centre-back Virgil van Dijk for a record-breaking £75 million ($102 million, 84 million euros) in January, have started leaking goals in recent weeks, conceding 19 in their last 10 Premier League outings.

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Former Watford boss Marco Silva was instantly linked with a swift return to the top flight, but he is no longer the favourite to take the job. As for Puel, he is now in charge at Leicester who, ironically, are eighth in the Premier League, the position that Saints were when they fired the Frenchman.

"Southampton have given Pellegrino every chance to adapt, grow and learn, but they went to Newcastle and for the first time it looked like the players had chucked one in".

But rather than opt for a short-term option until the end of the season, The Daily Echo reports that Southampton are instead eager to find a long-term successor for Pellegrino.

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If Southampton are prepared to wait until the summer in their search for a new long-term manager they would no doubt boost their chances of luring over a boss who is now in employment.

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