Saints fans in their majority – 96%, according to poll figures sourced from The Southern Daily Echo – are absolutely baffled.
After back-to-back promotions, the highest post-war win percentage and only two defeats in their last 12 Premier League games, Nigel Adkins has been sacked by Southampton Football Club. Nicola Cortese, Club Chairman, has justified it as part of realizing the club’s “long-term plans.”
It is outwardly, though, a ridiculous move and is thus being rightly ridiculed by most segments of the media and football fan fraternity alike.
Not only has Cortese “relieved [Adkins] of his managerial duties,” they’ve ”relieved” his entire backroom team, too. So, in the middle of January, halfway through a transfer window and amidst a relegation battle, Saints willingly lose all coaching continuity just as they were building momentum, in favour of a man who speaks little English – Mauricio Pochettino.
On the contrast, it seems that Southampton have at least signed a manager who operates from the same school of thought as Nigel Adkins. Insights into his managerial tendencies reveal that he is close to his players, yet tough; “fun” but “intense,” and meticulous in detail, videoing all that his team does and uses the video analysis as a coaching tool before, during and after games. Even Pep Guardiola is an admirer of Pochettino’s style, which he likens to his own. There are notable parallels to the fallen Adkins.
So if Southampton have hired a manager with similar values and methodologies to those instilled by Adkins, why the change?
Nicola Cortese must believe that Mauricio Pochettino is of the same cloth but of a greater pedigree.
Billed by Southampton’s official site as “one of the most exciting coaching talents in Europe,” Pochettino has much to live up to, if following in the footsteps of Nigel Adkins wasn’t pressurizing enough. For the sake of the club, I for one hope he succeeds. But, it does signal our full return to the English top-flight – the cutthroat Premier League where there is little patience or, seemingly, logic.
“We stay in the here and the now.” – Nigel Adkins, Southampton Manager, 2010-2013