Many people may have been quite surprised when former manager Nigel Adkins…..the man who guided the club out of administration with two promotions on the bounce and into the Premier League was sacked from his job by controversial chairman Nicola Cortese in mid January.
Adkins , who had done a superb job on the south coast was replaced by unknown manager Mauricio Pochettino , a man who could speak very little English and had been sacked from his managerial role at Espanyol that previous November , as the Argantine was handed the task of keeping the Saints up in their debut season in the Premier League as Italian chairman Cortese showed his ruthless side once again.
Pochettino started his reign at the Hampshire outfit comfertably with a positive 0-0 draw against Everton….Pochettino then guided Saints to impressive victories over title challengers Manchester City, and superb wins against Liverpool and Chelsea as Southampton made St Mary’s into a fortress.
Pochettino, aided by the financial backing of Cortese, guided the Saints to an impressive 14th position as Southampton survived comdertably in mid table and looked to build upon their already impressive young squad which consisted of the likes of James Ward Prowse , Nathanial Clyne , Jack Cork , Luke Shaw , Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana , not to mention the goal scoring exploits of prolific centre forward Rickie Lambert , who had helped the Saints up from League One to the Premier League in the space of two seasons as the Liverpool born striker was revelling in the glory of a sustainable Premier League campaign.
Southampton…..who have a famed acadamy system which has included the likes of Theo Walcott , Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Gareth Bale….who has recently become the most expensive player in world football after his move from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid as Southampton have had a helping hand in all their successful careers respectivly. Southampton’s famed system has also brought through an emerging left back Luke Shaw , who has adapted well to being a crucial first team player for the Saints in the Premier League as Shaw looks set to have a very bright future in the game after attracting interest from the ‘ top ‘ clubs in the Premier League.
Following on from season of their survival Cortese decided to back Pochettino financially as Southampton brought in several head turning signings as the south coast club splashed their considerable cash….a far cry from the situation the club found themselves in two years ago with administation looming as Southampton brought in Victor Wanyama from Celtic , strong centre Daniel Osvaldo from Roma , and French centre back Dejan Lovern….put that together with the squad they had already and there is something special there with a mix of young homegrown talent’s , to superb internationally renowned players.
Saints have started the season is fine form and currently sit in 5th position in the Premier League , with wins against West Bromwich Albion , Liverpool , Crystal Palace and Swansea….and an impressive point away at Manchester United as the Saints look for a European place later on in the campaign.
Saints have had a superb start….but can they carry on their fine form ?
By Ben Reardon