Shocked. Incensed. Astounded. Those were some of the words to describe the events at Southampton Football Club on 18th January. It was easy to forget the new Saints boss, Mauricio Pochettino, as the fans warmed to love Nigel Adkins after an unforgettable job during his two-and-a-half years at St. Mary’s.
It has been 11 days since the arrival of the Argentine, and there has been a positive reaction from the majority of the Southampton fans. Despite many suffering from the Adkins sacking hangover, the fans have come to terms with the start of a new era for their beloved club. There will still be questions surrounding Adkins’ sudden dismissal. However, the main issue for the fans is to get behind Pochettino, who has received a positive reaction from the majority of the fans to his arrival.
After his first press conference was broadcasted, many fans criticised at the fact that he could hardly speak a word of the English language. It’s fortunate for Pochettino that there are some Spanish speaking players at the club. However, speaking through an interpreter to get his views to the players at first was quite alarming. It also came to their attention that Pochettino was sacked by La Liga side, Espanyol, last November. However, the 40-year-old confirmed to Sky Sports’ Guillem Balague that he left by mutual consent, as the Barcelona club were struggling financially.
So what did the fans find out about Pochettino at his press conference? He stated that he likes his teams to aggressive and attacking football that the supporters can enjoy watching. It was revealed that he spoke to Real Madrid head coach José Mourinho about the move to St. Mary’s detailing Pochettino about the Premier League and English football in general. Just like Nigel Adkins, Pochettino also likes to enhance the potential of bringing through the younger players from the academy into the first team if he thinks they are good enough. On the same day as his unveiling, he revealed that the club had signed Norwegian centre-back Vegard Forren from Molde, which was the position that needed strengthening the most.
It wasn’t long before Pochettino took charge of in his first match as the new Southampton manager as they welcomed high-flying Everton to St. Mary’s. The stadium gave the former Argentina international a warm reception on a night where the fans said their thanks to Nigel Adkins. On the pitch, there was a slight change in the style of play in terms of pressing down the opponents and a reasonably high defensive line. It was an impressive first-half from the Saints creating plenty of chances. However, after the break, the players looked tired from the first-half. Despite the match finishing goalless, it was clear to see that Pochettino’s style was implemented which can only excite everybody involved at Southampton for years to come.
The main aim for Pochettino this season is to maintain Southampton’s Premier League status. If he is successful, can challenging for Europe be the next step in Nicola Cortese’s plan? It seems so. There might be a few worries of second season syndrome from a minority of the fans. However, why can’t the Saints challenge for a Europa League place with the investment in place? This can only be the start of an exciting period in the club’s history and the fans must play their part in getting behind Mauricio Pochettino and the team.
Here is what a few Saints fans think of Mauricio Pochettino’s arrival on Twitter:
@NickBrown76: “To be honest, happy with how things are going. Think it was the mistreatment of Nigel Adkins that annoyed me. Mauricio Pochettino obviously knows what he’s doing, and I think we can look forward to Saints playing some really nice football. His defensive knowledge will prove very important as well. Of course we all miss Adkins but I think the players will excel under Pochettino and we can look forward to a successful few years.”
@GGalpin95: “Cautiously excited. Not too happy with how it was done, and no recognition for him, but this could be a game-changer if we’re serious about being a club good enough for Europe, and the new man will attract far better players perhaps.”
@Grannie1964: “Possibly too early to say, need to give him time.”
@Saint_dabbsie: “Very disappointed in the way he was appointed, but very excited about the future under him. Young, ambitious and highly-rated!”
@JasPacePZoo: “Shocked at first but club decisions, as strange as they have been, have not let us down so far. Think Mauricio Pochettino could be good for us.”