Mauricio Pellegrino: I spoke to Pochettino about Southampton

July 7, 2017

New Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino has said he consulted Mauricio Pochettino, one of his predecessors at St Mary’s, before taking the job.

Pochettino spent 18 months at Saints, leading the club to their highest Premier League points tally before joining Tottenham in summer 2014 — and quickly did the same at Spurs.

Both Pellegrino and Pochettino are 45-year-old former Argentina international central defenders — although they were not teammates for the national team — who managed in Spain before moving to English football.

Pellegrino, who signed a three-year deal at Southampton last month, says he wants to continue the work done by Pochettino, Ronald Koeman and Claude Puel, and said he spoke about the club’s potential with the Tottenham boss.

“Southampton has been playing a good level with the past few managers and I would like to keep the best things from the past and try to improve, because the team doesn’t have a limit to improve,” Pellegrino told Saints’ official website.

“We [Pochettino and I] were talking about the club, about the team, about the possibility that the club has got to grow in the future.

“I felt quickly it would be a great opportunity for me. I am really grateful to Mauricio, and I would like to do the same and try to improve from the last few seasons, because the team have been playing at a good level and I have to take the best things from the past and try to improve to be better in the future.”

Puel led Saints to an eighth-place finish and the League Cup final last season before being sacked, and Pellegino said it was a difficult challenge to improve the club.

“We are in this step that it’s really difficult that we can be more competitive,” he said. “Creating the special mood in the dressing room, outside the pitch and inside the pitch, with the people around the squad as well.

“When they showed me the structure of the club, the people that they have got working here — there are a lot of professionals working for 11 players every single day.

“It is like another team behind the 11 players who play the game. I felt that it is the suitable context for any manager in the world. Southampton have got this.”