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On This Day in 2018: Southampton sack manager Mauricio Pellegrino

Pellegrino spent less than a year in charge at St Mary’s.

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Mauricio Pellegrino was shown the door at Southampton four years ago (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Mauricio Pellegrino was shown the door at Southampton four years ago (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Mauricio Pellegrino was shown the door at Southampton four years ago (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Mauricio Pellegrino paid the price for Southampton’s alarming slump as the south-coast club dropped the axe on March 12, 2018.

The Argentinian was only appointed as manager the previous summer but the Saints hierarchy opted for another change with eight games remaining as they attempted to cling onto their Premier League status.

Southampton had won just one of their previous 17 league matches – against bottom club West Brom – and a 3-0 defeat at Newcastle, which left Saints languishing just one place and one point above the relegation zone, proved to be the final straw.

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The smile did not last long for Mauricio Pellegrino at Southampton (Adam Davy/PA)

The smile did not last long for Mauricio Pellegrino at Southampton (Adam Davy/PA)

The smile did not last long for Mauricio Pellegrino at Southampton (Adam Davy/PA)

Former Liverpool defender Pellegrino had been under increasing pressure as the season progressed, with fans frustrated by his perceived defensive tactics and pundits accusing the players of not playing for him.

Pellegrino admitted as much himself after the Newcastle defeat, saying: “I observed some players who gave up and we cannot show this, to be honest.

“You can lose, you can play badly, but you have to show another face on the pitch.”

Southampton moved quickly to replace Pellegrino, appointing former player Mark Hughes on a deal until the end of the season just two days later.

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Mark Hughes guided Southampton to Premier League safety (John Walton/PA)

Mark Hughes guided Southampton to Premier League safety (John Walton/PA)

Mark Hughes guided Southampton to Premier League safety (John Walton/PA)

The Welshman’s first game in charge was an FA Cup quarter-final victory over Wigan, and two victories from their final eight Premier League games proved enough to secure a 17th-placed finish and top-flight survival.

Hughes was given a three-year contract at the end of the season but was sacked in December 2018 and replaced by current boss Ralph Hasenhuttl.

Pellegrino returned to management with Leganes three months after leaving Southampton and is currently the boss of Argentinian side Velez Sarsfield.

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