Seven years after leaving Liverpool as Rafael Benítez’s assistant, Mauricio Pellegrino is returning to English football as the new manager of Southampton.
Following a hugely successful year in Spain, guiding Alavés to a historic Copa del Rey final and a ninth placed finish in La Liga, Pellegrino has established himself as one of Europe’s brightest coaches.
“My philosophy and the culture of the club will work well,” said Pellegrino, after signing a three-year deal with the Premier League club.
“I want to win matches, be successful and develop a team spirit where everyone gives 100% and supports each other. I am excited and passionate about what the future holds.”
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) June 23, 2017
The 45-year-old’s managerial career hasn’t been all plain-sailing since striking out on his own after an apprenticeship under Benítez. A seven-month spell with troubled Valencia ended abruptly and back in Argentina with Estudiantes and Argentina, his cautious approach led to frustration with supporters.
However, with Alavés, Pellegrino struck a balance that worked to perfection. The emphasis on defence and structure made the relative Spanish minnows difficult to break down but the quick and effective manner in which they countered made them a real danger.
At a club like Independiente, the supporters demanded that the team attacked in numbers and dominated sides; it didn’t fit with Pellegrino’s style. However, Alavés provided the ideal setting and El Flaco has developed as a coach as a result.
Southampton finished eighth in the Premier Leauge and reached the EFL Cup final but there was frustration with manager Claude Puel, that led to his sacking.
Pellegrino is another exciting appointment by the south coast club and the 45-year-old will attempt to follow in the footsteps of fellow Argentine Mauricio Pochettino, who impressed greatly during his time at St Mary’s