Thursday 22 February 2018

Pochettino to weigh up Saints future at season's end

Pochettino: Staying for now
Pochettino: Staying for now

Jeremy Wilson

Mauricio Pochettino has cast fresh doubt over his long-term future at Southampton by revealing that a decision on whether he remains manager next season will be put off until the summer.

Nicola Cortese's resignation as chairman on Wednesday caused Pochettino to seriously consider following his friend out of St Mary's but, after a brief meeting with owner Katharina Liebherr yesterday, he pledged his immediate allegiance.

The caveat, however, that the situation will need to be reviewed this summer is likely to interest other clubs, including Tottenham, who have admired Pochettino's work in the Premier League over the past year.

His contract lasts until the end of the 2014-15 season and he was asked yesterday about staying for the full 17 months. "It's very hard to say, I think it's very soon to say about that," said Pochettino. "Until the end of the season, if the owners want me to be the manager, then I will be the manager.

"It's clear that at the end of the season we will assess the situation and then we will decide whether I am to stay another season. I am fully 100pc decided on staying at this club until the end of the season."

Pochettino, though, revealed that he is yet to receive any guarantees about whether key players will leave or, indeed, if Liebherr intends to sell the club. Cortese believes that the entire club is about to be put up for sale but this is denied by Liebherr, who claims she now wants to stabilise the situation and appoint a new chief executive. Liebherr has installed herself as the club's new chairman.

From Liebherr's perspective, there was considerable surprise that Cortese did not accept their proposal for him to stay and her desire for more involvement in a club now said to be valued at around £100m.

Pochettino said that it was now for Liebherr to show that Cortese's vision -- to challenge for Champions League places with a largely home-grown squad -- remained.

Pochettino claimed that he did not know why Cortese had resigned and, as he struggled to sleep on Wednesday night, he did seriously consider his own position, but added: "It would not be the right moment to leave this club now. When he offered my contract he said one thing: 'Be 100pc professional always, regardless of the situation.' That makes him a stand-out guy." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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