Pochettino in vow to Saints fans

Mauricio Pochettino replaced Nigel Adkins as Southampton manager on Friday - and promised "hard work and honesty".

Last Updated: 18/01/13 at 19:53 Post Comment

New Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino admitted winning over the club's supporters will be one of his biggest challenges after he was appointed amid a storm of protest.

Pochettino's recruitment appears to have been in the pipeline for some time after he revealed he had been studying the Southampton squad "for several weeks".

That will do little to appease the Saints supporters who are angry that Nigel Adkins was sacked despite leading the club to 15th in the Barclays Premier League after back-to-back promotions.

Pochettino confirmed the signing of Norwegian centre-back Vegard Forren from Molde on a three-and-a-half year contract, describing him as "a footballer with great promise".

But that positive news was overshadowed by the reaction to Pochettino's appointment, with former Southampton captain Matt Le Tissier saying it had turned the club into a "laughing stock".

Pochettino's first game in charge will be on Monday against Everton and he said via an interpreter: "I really want to convince the fans and hopefully they will take me in as they did the previous manager.

"It is a great challenge to be here as part of this project and (winning) the kindness of the supporters is one of the biggest challenges that I have.

"I am sure they will be supporting the club for the 90 minutes the game will last. Fans are free to express their feelings. I can't tell them what to feel but I have a lot of respect for how they react.

"I hope I can convince them with hard work, honesty and that they enjoy the way the club plays and they feel honoured and proud how the team is playing."

Pochettino said he had great respect for the job Adkins did for Southampton, taking them through two divisions and back into the top flight for the first time in seven years.

As a player, Pochettino won 20 caps for Argentina and he was the defender whose foul on Michael Owen in the 2002 World Cup game allowed David Beckham to score the winner from the penalty spot.

Pochettino managed Espanyol between 2009 and 2012 before he was sacked in November with the Catalan club bottom of La Liga. He left with a win-loss record of 49 wins and 64 defeats from 146 league matches.

The 40-year-old had a number of other options but opted for Southampton after consulting Jose Mourinho.

"I know the Premiership really well. In Spain we follow it closely. I am a great admirer of English football," he said.

"I spoke at length with people that know this league such as Jose Mourinho, who is a good friend of mine.

"He told me the best football in the world is being played here.

"The challenge is to win all the games that are ahead of us. In the background there is a project to grow the club.

"Very good players have come out of the academy here. We need to keep on reinforcing that structure so that in the long term we can be one of the strongest clubs in England."

In making the decision to axe Adkins and bring in Pochettino, Southampton's executive chairman Nicola Cortese said he was looking at the long-term future of the club.

"This decision has been made with the long-term ambitions of Southampton Football Club in mind," Cortese said in a statement.

"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."

Pochettino's first game in charge will be Monday night's clash with Everton when Forren, the Norwegian player of the year, could make his Saints debut.

"It's a dream come true for me. Southampton is a big club in the Premier League, which is where I have always wanted to come and play football," Forren said.

"When I was told of the interest from Southampton, straight away I wanted to come and talk to the chairman. We had a chat and I was very impressed - there was no doubt that this is where I wanted to be.

"The plan the chairman has for this club is fantastic. There is a good, young squad here and the way they play fits me well, so I hope I can join the team and get some good results."

When asked who had actually signed Forren, Adkins or him, Pochettino said: "Southampton".


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week


Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

T

his is brilliant! All these years of moral ambiguity, grey areas of offence and context..now we have a simple, easy to follow guide to right and wrong. What did you do today? I kicked the face off a panda . Oh well, you didn't rape, kill anyone or abuse a minor, knock yourself champ.

megabrow (cufc)
Redknapp leaps to Mackay defence

I

wonder if he'd feel the same way if he wasn't a white, non-jewish heterosexual male. Because Mackay has basically insulted everyone else!

Jay_D
Redknapp leaps to Mackay defence

C

heers Harry. I was wondering if he'd murdered anyone

Ezy_Rider
Redknapp leaps to Mackay defence

Footer 365

England boss Roy Hodgson sets his sights on winning Euro 2016

Roy Hodgson has put England's awful World Cup display behind him and has set his sights on winning Euro 2016.

Malky Mackay apologises for offensive texts while Cardiff manager

Malky Mackay has issued an official apology for sending offensive text messages during his time as Cardiff manager.

Dutch Eredivisie: Ajax v PSV preview

Ajax hope to steal a march on title rivals PSV when the two sides clash at the Amsterdam ArenA on Sunday, live on Sky.

Mail Box

More Fan Mail For Football365...

'Just p*ss off with your righteous indignation will you. W*nkers.' There's a lot of anger going around for what should have been a sleepy Friday afternoon at F365 Towers...

Man United: One Game To Save Season

They have one match to convince decent players that they are worth joining - over to you, Louis. We also have mails on Malky Mackay, Mario Balotelli and Tim...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property