Fergie amazed by Mancini axe

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.”