Premier League

Fergie amazed by Mancini axe

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Sat, 18 May 2013 08:02:00

Nicola Cortese will remain in his role as Southampton's executive chairman after his plans for the future were signed off by the club's owners.

Cortese was understood to be considering his position at St Mary's over differences with the trust that runs the club, and manager Mauricio Pochettino said on Friday that he would follow him if he decided to leave.

But the Italian met with owner Katharina Liebherr on Friday and plans for the club's continued development in the Premier League were agreed, prompting a statement on the club's official website.

Cortese said: "We are now in a position to move forward with our ambitious plans for the club and I would like to thank Katharina for the very helpful manner in which she approached our talks about long term strategy. I am pleased that this matter is now resolved.

"We can now focus 100 per cent on our preparations for next season.

"We have tremendous momentum now at the club and we are looking forward with great confidence to an exciting and successful campaign next season.

"The last few days have shown me the unity that we now have across the club in the players, the manager, the staff and the chairmanship which normally takes years to achieve.

"I have always believed that to create this unity would make us a very strong club and it is a unity of which I am unashamedly proud."

The 19-year-old former Celtic trainee has cut an impressive, composed figure since making a shock debut in last weekend's Edinburgh derby win over Hearts.

With James McPake and Tim Clancy facing a race to recover from injury, Forster will be in contention to start the Hampden showpiece against the Hoops next Sunday.

Aside from the obvious desire to become a club legend by helping to end a 111-year hoodoo, the Gorgie-born centre-back would draw some added satisfaction from defeating the Glasgow giants.

"At Celtic, I had a discussion with the head of youth and he said at that time it was unlikely that I'd get a pro contract. That was three years ago," said the promising defender.

"Whenever you're released by a club and play them again, there's always an edge. That will always be there.

"Hopefully I will give the manager here a headache for the final by continuing to perform well on the pitch and in training.

"There's an extra incentive for me every time I play against Celtic now."

Forster has bounced back impressively from his Parkhead disappointment in recent years, and describes joining Hibs as the "best thing I've ever done".

He continued: "It is hard to sum up what the last couple of weeks have been like. It's happened so fast, like a whirlwind.

"If you'd asked me a couple of months ago if I'd be in this position, I'd have said 'no way'. To make my debut at Tynecastle in the derby was unbelievable.

"It justifies my decision to come here after leaving Celtic, 100 per cent. It wasn't going to work out for me there and joining Hibs is the best thing I've ever done.

"Hibs are renowned for bringing youth players through and that's been proved.

"It would be a dream come true for me to play against Celtic's first team and win. I'd be lying if I said I haven't thought about running out against them at Hampden in a Scottish Cup final."

Mancini was relieved of his duties a year to the day since he guided City to last season's Premier League title.

The club's owners spoke of a desire for a more "holistic approach" but Ferguson believes it was the wrong decision.

"It is quite amazing," said the Manchester United manager, who retires after Sunday's game at West Brom.

"He has won the FA Cup, been in the final, second in the league and won the league and it's not good enough?

"I was surprised, but actually no, you can't say you are surprised not with some owners today. You can't be surprised, but I still don't think it was right.

"I was with the chief executive of Liverpool at our reserve game the other night and he told me that Brendan Rodgers, who has not been in the job a year, is the 30th longest-serving manager in the country. That's incredible."

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