Premier League

Southampton sacks Adkins

Southampton fires manager Nigel Adkins.
Southampton fires manager Nigel Adkins.
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Southampton have sacked manager Nigel Adkins and replaced him with former Espanyol boss Mauricio Pochettino.

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The Saints are 15th in the Barclays Premier League after coming back from 2-0 down to claim a draw with European champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

But that was not enough to save Adkins from the axe.

Pochettino, the former Argentina international, will take charge of Southampton for Monday's game against Everton.

Former captain Matt Le Tissier and a lot of the club's fans have reacted angrily to the news, but Pochettino has pledged to try and cool the mood with results on the pitch.

The former Espanyol manager spoke largely through an interpreter, but did say in English: "I am very happy to be here in this amazing weather. It happened quickly, small details are not important, it's important I'm here at this project and club."

He added in Spanish: "They have done really well in the Premiership. In Spain we follow it closely. I am a great admirer of English football and am happy to be here."

Pochettino, a 20-cap Argentina international in his playing days, added he had spoken to Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho about the move, while conceding he has to address the issue of supporter unrest.

"The challenge is to be part of this project, the kindness of the supporters is the biggest challenge I have," he said at a news conference.

"They are the biggest part of this club and I hope I can convince them with honest and hard work. I am very passionate about the Premier League. I have seen many games, the Premier League is an attractive league and I have spoken to people at length about it, people such as Jose Mourinho, who is a good friend of mine.

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"He told me the best football in the world is being played here."

Saints executive chairman Nicola Cortese said: "This decision has been made with the long-term ambitions of Southampton Football Club in mind. Whilst we acknowledge the contribution Nigel has made during the past two years, for the club to progress and achieve our long-term targets a change was needed.

"Mauricio is a well-respected coach of substantial quality who has gained a reputation as an astute tactician and excellent man-manager. I have every confidence that he will inspire our talented squad of players to perform at the highest possible level.

"He also shares my belief that the most successful clubs are built by nurturing young players through a development system that provides a clear path to the first team, thereby creating a culture that keeps them at the club for the long term.

"This is an approach he has employed with great success in the past and I look forward to him bringing that experience and expertise to Southampton."

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