Matt Le Tissier and Sky Sports pundits react to Southampton's decision to replace Nigel Adkins with Mauricio Pochettino
Last Updated: January 18, 2013 1:52pm
Chairman Nicola Cortese has made Southampton 'a laughing stock' by sacking Nigel Adkins, says Matt Le Tissier.
And Le Tissier, who made 443 appearances for Southampton between 1986-2002, told Sky Sports News the timing of the decision - with Saints 15th in the Premier League following their midweek 2-2 draw at Chelsea - was "odd".
"It seems a little bit odd to me but the way the club has been run for the last couple of years by the chairman, nothing surprises me anymore."
Matt Le Tissier
"Sadly, it doesn't surprise me," he reflected. "It has come at a very strange time of the season, considering that we've only lost two of the last 12 games and come back from 2-0 down against Chelsea earlier in the week.
"So it seems a little bit odd to me but the way the club has been run for the last couple of years by the chairman, nothing surprises me anymore sadly and once again he's made Southampton a bit of a laughing stock.
"Nigel was under a bit of pressure early on in the season and we thought it might happen then. Whether or not Cortese couldn't quite get the man he wanted at that point, we don't know, but the timing of it all is very, very strange.
"I think everybody will be taken aback by it all as the club seems to have come to terms with life in the Premier League; it was a tough start but they turned things around pretty well and got themselves a few points clear of the relegation zone
"Things were looking bright, especially after what happened on Wednesday night but I'm sure that all of the backroom staff down there will not be overly surprised because they know what the chairman is like.
Pochettino - who has a reputation for playing attacking football - will oversee training on Saturday in preparation for the upcoming home clash with Everton - live on Monday Night Football - but Le Tissier said it was hard to see what the Argentine would bring to the role that Adkins didn't.
"I'm still a little bit in shock at the sacking of Nigel - it's an odd thing to have to come to terms with today," said the Soccer Saturday pundit. "I think the fans have been getting [attacking football] since Nigel came to the football club.
"We've always been a pretty attacking side; we've conceded a fair few goals but scored a fair few too and so there's no real difference to me than how Nigel went about his business."
Read below to see what our other experts are saying about Southampton's managerial switch...
Guillem Balague - Spanish-football journalist and Revista de la Liga pundit
"It is sad that Adkins has gone because he has got Southampton back-to-back promotions - but this is very intelligent decision; if you are going to replace a manager it is important that you get someone with a vision and clear idea of what to do with not just the first team, but the club as a whole, and that is what Mauricio Pochettino will bring. He arrived at Espanyol when times were really bad and said: 'If you follow me everything will be alright' and, with little money, he started making steps towards Espanyol playing in a certain way and his only problem there was that eventually there was no money and the best players were sold.
"This is not and off-the-cuff decision and long conversations have taken place between the chairman and Mauricio Pochettino - who Real Madrid were interested in and who had offers last summer from Sampdoria and Valencia - and they were both convinced he was the right manager for this club. He is able to change things on the pitch when thing aren't working tactically, but he will also work with the academy and impose an entertaining, possession game as he believes, like Pep Guardiola, Johann Cruyff, and Vicente del Bosque, that if you keep the ball and are protagonists you will get points. I am excited by this and I hope Southampton fans are to, but I also hope that in this day and age where everyone wants immediate success, people will be patient."
Jamie Redknapp - Sky Sports pundit and former Southampton midfielder
"I'm absolutely stunned and I think it's just another example of a deluded chairman and someone who doesn't understand football enough. We're not privy to what goes on behind the scenes and sometimes maybe there is a little bit of discontent between the manager and the owner, but sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture and the job that Nigel has done with a predominantly British squad has been exceptional - taking them from third bottom of League to three points clear of relegation in the Premier League and playing great football. Sometimes owners get ideas of grandeur but you have to take it step-by-step and when you come into the Premier League the first objective is to stay there.
They looked in good position to do that, so this has now destabilised the whole club; Pochettino may come in and do a great job, but the rest of the clubs at the bottom will look at this as great news. There will be a bit of a negative atmosphere around St Mary's now as a lot of the crowd will not be happy that the manager that has brought them so much success over the last few years has now gone. It's Cortese's money, it's his club, he can do what he likes and he has been a huge success in whatever field he was in previously - but he has come into football and found it difficult to understand why Southampton aren't top of the league. However, he has to understand that with the players that they've got they are punching above their weight at the moment."
Paul Merson - Soccer Saturday pundit
"The way Southampton have treated Adkins is absolutely disgusting. Remember, I'm a Portsmouth man, but even I'm staggered by this decision. It's an absolute joke. I can't understand the decision to get rid of him, especially after the unbelievable week they have just had; they went to one of their relegation rivals (Aston Villa) and won and then went to the champions of Europe (Chelsea) and got a draw, so you've got to wonder what the owner is thinking. I understand that people don't always get on with each other, but can't they behave like adults? It's mind-blowing to hear this news and leaves a bitter taste in my mouth and, in my opinion, it shouldn't be allowed. What were Southampton expecting this year anyway?
"If they finish in 17th place and stay up that's a job well done. Currently they are 15th so you'd have to say Adkins has done a good job so far; they were letting in far too many goals earlier in the year, but they were getting harder to beat and playing 100 times better than they were at the start of the season, and Adkins has built a team that never gives up - and remember, this is the man who has brought them up through two leagues and got them into the Premier League far quicker than they ever could have expected. I think Adkins will get another job fairly easily. He definitely deserves one, although he might need to drop down into the Championship again."