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Pellegrino pays price as Southampton wield axe in bid to beat the drop

Out of time: Mauricio Pellegrino PICTURE: GETTY

SOUTHAMPTON last night sacked manager Mauricio Pellegrino in a bid to halt awful form which sees them in a battle for survival.

A 3-0 defeat at Newcastle left Saints, who finished eighth last term, just one point and one place above the drop zone with eight games left.

Afterwards Pellegrino, who was booed as he got on the team bus after a run of one league win in 17 games, accused his players of ‘giving up’.

And former Saints defender Francis Benali last night told the BBC: ‘I think the heavy defeat against Newcastle and the manner of it has sealed his fate.

‘They are thinking hopefully it’s not too late for someone to come in and turn things around.’

With assistant manager Carlos Compagnucci and assistant first-team coach Xavier Tamarit also leaving, a club statement read: ‘The club will look to appoint a new management team as soon as possible, with the search for a replacement already under way.’

Southampton made the change with almost three weeks until they visit West Ham in their next Premier League game but intend to have a manager in place for their trip to Wigan in the sixth round of the FA Cup this Sunday.

Saints legend Matt Le Tissier has no intention of taking on the post, tweeting last night: ‘With all my coaching experience i think not!’

■ 0.93 — Average points-per-game record at Southampton for Pellegrino