Here’s what Saints legend Benali thinks of the decision to appoint Pellegrino

first_imgSouthampton legend Francis Benali has told talkSPORT 2 of his optimism over the season ahead following the appointment of Mauricio Pellegrino.The Saints confirmed Pellegrino as first team manager on Friday, just over a week after the sacking of Claude Puel.While Puel guided Southampton to an eighth-place finish last term – not a bad position on paper – there was frustration across the club that their identity on the pitch had been lost under the Frenchman.His replacement, Pellegrino, who was assistant manager to Rafael Benitez at Liverpool between 2008 and 2010, is relatively unknown by both the St Mary’s and rival support.But as discussed with Benali, former Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino was similarly someone many asked ‘who’? when he arrived on the south coast four years ago.“You look back at the recent appointments, in recent years, and going back to [Mauricio] Pochettino, [Ronald] Koeman, and even Claude Puel, they’ve all come in and done an outstanding job,” Benali told talkSPORT 2.“That’s why I’m comfortable with the appointment the club have made; you know they certainly wouldn’t have made the decision lightly to let Claude [Puel] go, and likewise they’ve certainly got a selection process, an appointment process of new players and managers that stands out from other teams.“I’m keeping my fingers crossed that things will go well for him, but it’s going to be tough, because the Premier League can be a pretty formidable place to come and play and manage.”Benali also spoke of the opportunity players at Southampton, particularly those who may have struggled under Puel, now have to suggest they deserve a place in the team.“It’s going to be an opportunity for every single player at the club… a clean slate for players that were playing regularly under Claude Puel – they’ve got to almost go out and prove themselves again.“It’s an opportunity for players that may have not figured much to impress the new manager, but he’ll have to come in and have a few conversations with one or two key players that have been linked with moves away from Southampton, and put his spin on why Southampton are the club to play for and he the manager to play under.”Listen to the full interview with former Southampton full-back Francis Benali, who also chats transfer rumours, the Saints’ home-grown talent and more, above.last_img read more