Sunday 22 September 2019

Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino dismisses talk of relegation battle

Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino discussed the competitive nature of the Premier League
Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino discussed the competitive nature of the Premier League

Mauricio Pellegrino has dismissed suggestions Southampton are in a battle against relegation and also insists he does not fear for his job.

The Argentinian has so far overseen an underwhelming start to the season in which Saints have won only three of 12 Premier League games, leaving them in 14th in the standings just months after predecessor Claude Puel was sacked having led them to eighth.

Pellegrino has also experienced significant unrest from the club's supporters and criticism of his style of play, but he insists that finishing only six points above 17th last season and being within two of the top 10 now means he is unconcerned.

"We are five points from eighth," Pellegrino said when asked if his team was battling relegation. "Or four points away (from the bottom three): to be in the top of the table or the bottom.

"This is the Premier League; it's amazing for this, because it's really competitive, and also really difficult.

"When we think about the end of the last season, between eighth and 17th, there were six points. We're talking about 10 teams and six points.

"The Premier League is really tough, and a lot of teams are in similar situations, we have to fight for every single point."

Tony Pulis this week became the fifth Premier League manager this season to be sacked when he was shown the door by West Brom, who are only three points behind Southampton.

When asked about his job security, Pellegrino said: "I'm not scared about my job.

"I'm scared about a lot of things, not my job.

"The most risk in football is to work in football, because you need results all the time. It's a really nice job with a lot of situations that I know and I knew in my past as a player and as a manager: it's part of our situation.

"Everything can happen or change in one game, two games."

On Sunday, Southampton host Everton, who the manager overcame via a 2-1 scoreline as a Liverpool player in 2005. Mario Lemina faces a late fitness test following an ankle injury.

His potential absence comes with fellow central midfield Oriol Romeu already suspended, and Pellegrino said: "It will be really important (to win), because we can increase our confidence in our job, our players, our beliefs, and the people who work around the team.

"Everybody needs a good game, but the most important thing is trying to play (so) that we deserve to win.

"We have to use the Burnley game (a 1-0 home defeat earlier this month after which he praised their performance), to continue in this way, because continuing to play this way will win us a lot of games."

PA Media

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