This is a decision that makes you wonder if the people running Southampton actually know what they are doing.
Today the Saints announced that they had sacked Nigel Adkins, despite the club sitting three points above the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.
The decision comes just 48 hours after the man, who led the club to back-to-back promotions in the last two seasons, saw his side fight back for a draw at European champions Chelsea.
Southampton have replaced Adkins with former Espanyol manager Mauricio Pochettino, who I don’t believe speaks English.
Trying the explain the decision, Southampton executive chairman Nicola Cortese said:
‘This decision has been made with the long-term ambitions of Southampton Football Club in mind. Whilst we acknowledge the contribution Nigel has made during the past two years, for the club to progress and achieve our long-term targets a change was needed.
‘Mauricio is a well-respected coach of substantial quality who has gained a reputation as an astute tactician and excellent man manager. I have every confidence that he will inspire our talented squad of players to perform at the highest possible level.
‘He also shares my belief that the most successful clubs are built by nurturing young players through a development system that provides a clear path to the first team, thereby creating a culture that keeps them at the club for the long term.
‘This is an approach he has employed with great success in the past and I look forward to him bringing that experience and expertise to Southampton.’
The timing of this decision makes no sense to me. Southampton really struggled the first month or two in the Premier League and they, and Adkins looked outclassed. If Cortese had fired Adkins then, I don’t think any one would have said anything.
But Adkins has done a really good job turning the Saints around, and they have lost only two of their last 12 Premier League games, a run which includes wins over Aston Villa and Reading and draws at Stamford Bridge and at home to Arsenal. Which is why the decision to change managers now is so baffling.