Southampton close in on Mark Hughes as new boss

Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino on the touch line during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Southampton at St. James Park

Southampton fired manager Mauricio Pellegrino on Monday in a bid to stop the team sliding out of the English Premier League.

The saints have only won one of their last seventeen premier league games, a performance that sees them occupy 17th position on the league table with 28 points.

Pellegrino, who has also coached Valencia, Estudiantes, Independiente and Alavés, leaves after nine months in charge, having replaced Claude Puel in the Southampton hot seat last summer.

Mark Hughes is the current odds-on bookmakers' favourite, while former Watford and Hull City boss Marco Silva is also said to be in the hunt.

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The United manager attempted to retrieve the situation by throwing on Anthony Martial and Mata, but it was too little, too late. The visitors were denied a goal within three minutes of the half-time break by a last-ditch Eric Bailly challenge.

He will have eight games to ensure Southampton avoid relegation.

Hughes has been out of work since being sacked by Stoke City in January, but the club had previously recorded three consecutive finishes of ninth before sliding last season to 13.

Current Southampton assistant coach and former goalkeeper Kelvin Davis took training on Tuesday after Pellegrino's departure. "I feel so sorry to leave the club in this situation but when you don't get results I understand the decision the club has to take".

Southampton were thrashed 3-0 by fellow strugglers Newcastle United at the weekend and head to fellow strugglers West Ham United on March 31 in their next Premier League match.

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"Some moments we managed this, some moments we couldn't, but we have been living a hard season for many reasons".

With the form Southampton have been in this year, Pellegrino's sacking has been more of an inevitability than anything else, but with only eight matches left in the season, it puts the club in an incredibly hard position.

As reported by The Scotsman, Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers' achievements in his first two seasons in Glasgow have lead to some strong interest from Premier League club Southampton.

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