London (AFP) – Mauricio Pellegrino admits he paid the price for Southampton’s dismal form after he was sacked as manager just nine months into his reign at the Premier League club.
Pellegrino managed only five wins in his 30 league games with Southampton following his arrival in June.
The 46-year-old arrived at St Mary’s as the replacement for Claude Puel, who was sacked despite guiding Southampton to an eighth-place finish and the League Cup final.
A 3-0 defeat at relegation rivals Newcastle over the weekend left Southampton just one place and one point above the bottom three.
With Southampton supporters calling for his dismissal, the Argentine coach’s exit was confirmed on Monday and he accepted it was inevitable given his failure to halt the slide.
In a statement published on Southampton’s website on Tuesday, Pellegrino said: “From the beginning I tried to do my best every single day, I tried to give back to the club and tried to represent the club with pride.
“Some moments we managed this, some moments we couldn’t, but we have been living a difficult season for many reasons.
“The manager is the face of a lot of decisions and actions, but I always tried to put the club first with my technical staff and the board behind me.
“I feel so sorry to leave the club in this situation, but when you don’t get results I understand the decision the club has to take.”
Southampton have won just one of their last 17 league matches and have only eight games to save their top-flight status.
Saints will be hoping to appoint Pellegrino’s successor quickly, with an FA Cup quarter-final at Wigan looming on Sunday.
They then face a crunch clash with relegation rivals West Ham at the London Stadium on March 31.
Former Hull boss Marco Silva is the early favourite to replace Pellegrino after being sacked by Watford earlier this season.