Tag Archives: saints

Fernando Torres has been ruined by Chelsea – Mauricio Pochettino

Chelsea have ruined the striker who once tormented me, says Saints boss Pochettino

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

09:01 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

09:02 GMT, 30 March 2013

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino believes Chelsea might be responsible for the decline of striker Fernando Torres.

During his time at Espanyol, Pochettino was pitted against a fearsome Torres when he broke into the Atletico Madrid first team and the 41-year-old remembers being tormented by the young striker.

Torres left Atletico for Liverpool in
2007 and took to Premier League life exceptionally well. But since a
50million move to Stamford Bridge, the Spain international has
struggled to recapture the devastating form shown in Madrid and on
Merseyside.

Superstar: Fernando Torres burst onto the scene at Atletico Madrid

Superstar: Fernando Torres burst onto the scene at Atletico Madrid

Shell: Torres has been in decline ever since joining Chelsea from Liverpool for 50million

Shell: Torres has been in decline ever since joining Chelsea from Liverpool for 50million

Pochettino, whose Southampton side aim to topple Chelsea at St Mary’s this afternoon, believes Torres has not looked at ease since moving to west London.

'I have played against Torres many times and he scored some goals against me,’ Pochettino told The Daily Star.

'I remember him being a quality player, full of strength and a player who knew which spaces to run into to create chances.

'Sometimes it happens where a player is comfortable and feels happy at a certain club as he was at Atletico and at Liverpool.

'But when you leave that club and join a new team maybe you do not feel as comfortable and as happy and that can affect your performances.

Candid: Pochettino remembers being terrorised by Torres during his time at Espanyol

Candid: Pochettino remembers being terrorised by Torres during his time at Espanyol

'I do not know if Torres will leave Chelsea but what is clear is there is no doubting his quality.'

Jack Cork further stoked the fires before this afternoon’s match by saying he would not swap Saints’ top goalscorer Rickie Lambert for Chelsea’s World Cup winner.

The 31-year-old Liverpudlian has scored 13 goals in his debut Premier League season, whereas Torres has only netted seven times this campaign.

Cork, who spent 14 years at The Bridge, said: ‘Rickie has been different class for us for the last three or four years.

'For someone of his build, his touch is unbelievable. He is great to have in your team.

'Torres and Demba Ba have scored lots of goals in their careers and you don’t pay 50m for someone who isn’t any good.

No way: Jack Cork says he would not swap Torres for Saints striker Rickie Lambert (second right)

No way: Jack Cork says he would not swap Torres for Saints striker Rickie Lambert (second right)

'But if you asked who I’d rather have in my team, I’d say Rickie.'

Cork, 23, heads into this afternoon’s match to face the club he left in 2011, having been at Chelsea since the age of eight but never making a senior appearance.

He added: 'Chelsea was massive for me and from the age of eight it was my dream to play for them. It was frustrating towards the end but I loved it when I was there.

'We had a good set of young players who have all gone on to play a high standard. That was when Chelsea were doing well and winning titles — so I can understand why nobody was given a chance.

'With the managers chopping and changing there is always a lot of pressure on them to win games, so it’s tough to blood youngsters.'

Heavy heart: Cork (left) left Chelsea after 14 years at Stamford Bridge

Heavy heart: Cork (left) left Chelsea after 14 years at Stamford Bridge

Nigel Adkins sacking by Southampton and replacement with Mauricio Pochettino is lunacy

Adkins sacking is lunacy but Saints must heed warning from Chelsea fans' abuse

By
James Coney, Money Mail Editor

PUBLISHED:

15:56 GMT, 18 January 2013

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UPDATED:

17:43 GMT, 18 January 2013

You’d find it hard to find one
football fan, let alone any who support Southampton, who does not
believe the sacking of Nigel Adkins is complete madness.

Saints
had a terrible first few games back in the top flight. But even though
they lost eight in 10 matches there were few fans who lost confidence Adkins would get the team out of trouble.

And
the faith was rewarded. Saints have lost two in just 12 games,
including draws at Chelsea and Stoke and at home to Arsenal.

Ruthless: Nigel Adkins was sacked by Southampton despite consecutive promotions and improved form

Ruthless: Nigel Adkins was sacked by Southampton despite consecutive promotions and improved form

Saint marching in: Former Espanyol manager Mauricio Pochettino is the shock appointment at St Mary's

Saint marching in: Former Espanyol manager Mauricio Pochettino is the shock appointment at St Mary's

Even though the side are just above the relegation places, there are few who don’t believe the only way is up.

The players clearly respect Adkins and the fans adore him.

Yet
club chairman Nicola Cortese has sacked the manager of a team, who just
two days drew, and almost beat, the champions of Europe.

He
has been replaced with a man few will have heard of, and by all
accounts speaks little English. His managerial career hardly sparkles –
getting Espanyol a couple of mid-table finishes before being sacked when
they were at the foot of La Liga.

Fighting spirit: Rickie Lambert (second left) helped the Saints hold Chelsea to a 2-2 draw just two days ago

Fighting spirit: Rickie Lambert (second left) helped the Saints hold Chelsea to a 2-2 draw just two days ago

Fighting spirit: Rickie Lambert (second left) helped the Saints hold Chelsea to a 2-2 draw just two days ago

FRANTIC FRIDAY

Read all the news of an unbelievable day on the south coast in MailOnline:

Southampton SACK Adkins and replace him with Pochettino just two days after drawing away at European champions Chelsea

Meet the man Southampton hope will keep them up… Pochettino unveiled but he can't speak English and admits he has been researching the Saints 'for several weeks'!

From sinner to Saint: Watch Southampton boss Pochettino foul Owen in the box

But
what is going through the head of every Saints fan will be this: Please
don’t let this be the start of another managerial merry-go-round.

Saints had 12 managers in eight years
before being relegated. Many of these were hopeless, some went on to
bigger clubs.

But sacking one who had gained two promotions in
consecutive seasons and had bought and built a talented team which
players bright attractive football seems like lunacy.

I
was at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night. Three times the travelling
support sung Adkins’ name – even when the side were trailing 2-0 at half
time.

By contrast I
was struck by the horrible atmosphere among the Chelsea fans who despise
the sacking of their former manager. The abuse and animosity is having a
detrimental effect on the team’s home performances.

It’s a warning Saints supporters should heed.

I suspect there will now be the same level of anger towards the chairman by the Saints fans.
And
if that starts affecting performances then a side which was slowly
climbing the table could quickly fall back in to trouble.

First day: Pochettino gives his first press conference on Friday, ahead of Saints' game with Everton on Monday

First day: Pochettino gives his first press conference on Friday, ahead of Saints' game with Everton on Monday

Rugby news: Alex Corbisiero signs for Northampton

Corbisiero to leave Irish as England prop agrees summer switch to Northampton

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'There is a great culture and hopefully I can help the team succeed while continuing my progression as a player, and I am sure that Franklin's Gardens will be a good environment for me in that regard.'

Northampton have also announced new contracts for props Tom Mercey and Alex Waller.

Saints rugby director Jim Mallinder added: 'All three players have plenty of experience, and because they are still in their early-to-mid 20s we believe that there is plenty more to come from them.

'I am that all three props have put pen to paper to be a part of the Saints squad going forward.'

Vegard Forren abandons Liverpool trial for Southampton talks

Saints set to snatch Forren as 4.2m defender abandons Anfield trial for St Mary's talks

By
Matt Barlow

PUBLISHED:

11:43 GMT, 15 January 2013

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UPDATED:

11:43 GMT, 15 January 2013

Vegard Forren is considering the option of a permanent transfer to Southampton rather than his planned trial at Liverpool.

Forren, a Norwegian international central defender, arrived in England last night and was expected to report to Liverpool for a trial today.

Change of plan: Molde defender Vegard Forren has abandoned a trial at Liverpool in favour of talks with Southampton

Change of plan: Molde defender Vegard Forren (also in action, below) has abandoned a trial at Liverpool in favour of holding talks with Barclays Premier League side Southampton

Heading off: Norway international Forren (No 5) looks set to leave Molde for a move to England

But the 24-year-old has other options in the Barclays Premier League including Saints, who are keen to strengthen their defence and thought to be among the clubs who have agreed a 4.2million transfer fee with his club Molde.

Fulham and Everton are other clubs who have been monitoring Forren, who has been capped five times by Norway.

Molde boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed earlier this month that the defender was set to leave the club, possibly for the Barclays Premier League.

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

Upper hand: Southampton boss Nigel Adkins is leading the race to sign Forren ahead of Brendan Rodgers (R)

Saracens 17 Northampton 16: Stephen Myler misses penalty with last kick

Saracens 17 Northampton 16: Myler miss is a kick in the teeth for Jim's beaten Saints

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UPDATED:

19:40 GMT, 30 December 2012

Stephen Myler and Northampton were left shattered in Milton Keynes as the fly-half’s last-minute, long-range penalty to win a pulsating game hit the crossbar and bounced out, giving Saracens a dramatic reprieve.

The Saints No 10 was presented with a shot for glory from his own half, with just seconds remaining, in controversial circumstances. Saracens prop Rhys Gill was penalised by referee JP Doyle for kicking the ball away from a ruck, when replays suggested that the ball was out and he was entitled to do so.

Then, some back-chat from one of the home players prompted the official to march forward 10 metres, leaving Northampton with a penalty on the limit of kicking range.

Close call: Myler hit the crossbar with the final kick of the game

Close call: Myler hit the crossbar with the final kick of the game

Putting the boot in: Farrell

Putting the boot in: Farrell

Myler, who had already registered 11 points with the boot, took aim at the posts, some 57 metres away. He let fly and the ball soared towards the target, only to glance off the centre of the bar, allowing Brad Barritt to clear into the stands to clinch the narrow win which sees his side go into the new year second in the Aviva Premiership, one point behind champions and leaders Harlequins.

Back by the halfway line, Myler was left on his haunches, with his head in his hands. Jim Mallinder, Northampton’s director of rugby, turned and strode down the tunnel, frustrated by the agonising manner of this latest defeat against a top-four team and incensed by Doyle’s refereeing.

Afterwards, he said: ‘Should have won, could have won. If Stephen Myler had kicked that goal at the end, we’d all be in there now celebrating a great away victory.

‘To be honest, I didn’t think he could get it. I was definitely wondering if they had made the right decision but you have to leave it to the players. Stephen knows best if he has a realistic chance of kicking it or not. It was left up to him and I think he probably did make the right decision to go for it.’

In a tense final quarter, a few of Doyle’s decisions came in for close scrutiny, particularly a penalty awarded to Saracens at a ruck in the closing minutes. Ben Foden, the Saints and England full back, exploded with rage when the whistle sounded and vented his fury on the nearby touch judge. Mallinder, in slightly calmer fashion, echoed his sense of indignation.

‘The majority of the decisions early on were probably just, but the referee has got to be consistent,’ he said. ‘If he is going to penalise Dylan Hartley for going off his feet, quite rightly, then he has to do Barritt at the end of the game for the same offence. In the final 10 or 15 minutes, there was some decision-making by us which we’ll need to look at, and we’ll look at a couple of the referee’s decisions as well, because they can be the difference between winning and losing close games like that. He got a number of those decisions wrong today.’

For the first quarter of this game, it merely appeared a question of how many points Saracens would win by against their bitter rivals, whose supporters dominated the large festive crowd. The nomadic Hertfordshire club immediately appeared at home in a stadium where their opponents have staged matches in the past, and were ahead in the seventh minute.

Try time: Phil Dowson crossed for Northampton

Try time: Phil Dowson crossed for Northampton

From an attacking line-out on the left, George Kruis took a clean catch and the Saracens pack drove forward with great conviction, on and on over the line until John Smit touched down. Charlie Hodgson missed the conversion, but he was on target with an 11th-minute penalty and his side continued to dominate proceedings on the back of clear superiority in the scrum.

Yet, that set-piece advantage gradually faded as the Saints forwards rallied and in the 24th minute the visitors hit back.

From a scrum near halfway, Ken Pisi broke clear on the right, Courtney Lawes stormed on and when quick ball was delivered to Phil Dowson, the flanker burst through three tackles to score a try which Myler converted to make it 11-7.

Saracens retaliated with gusto to this renewed challenge and after David Strettle so nearly went clean through the middle in the Northampton 22, Will Fraser and Ernst Joubert drove strongly at the line but the ball went loose, Samu Manoa pounced on it and eventually a clearance kick by Lee Dickson alleviated the sustained pressure.

Cast adrift: Northampton are eight points behind Saracens

Cast adrift: Northampton are eight points behind Saracens

Moments later, the scrum-half’s dart forward brought a penalty to the Saints which Myler struck to narrow the deficit to one point at the break. After half-time, the visitors’ No 10 maintained his assured goal-kicking to establish a 16-11 lead for his team, while Hodgson missed three successive shots at the other end. Owen Farrell, who had replaced Joel Tomkins at outside centre, took over kicking duties and calmly dispatched two successive penalties to push Saracens in front again and they clung on with a little help from the crossbar which denied Myler.

Mark McCall, Sarries’ director of rugby, was relieved by the outcome of that last-gasp kick, saying: ‘I felt the same as everyone else felt. It was out of our hands. We knew it was a very difficult kick. It was an unbelievable strike in fairness. He had his kicking boots on today, so we are grateful to have come away with a narrow victory.’

In a measured reaction to Doyle’s officiating, McCall added: ‘There are always going to be things that you are not happy about. There was some frustration in our side from time to time and I am surprised they (Northampton) feel as strongly as they do about it.’

This defeat for the Saints leaves them sixth in the Premiership table but Mallinder remained bullish about their prospects of mounting a convincing title challenge. ‘We know we’re a good side and today proved that,’ he said.

‘There’s not a lot between the top teams and although we’re now mid-table, we’re not out of the running, by any means. There are a few people who have written us off already but there’s a long way to go. We won’t give up, we’ll be back.’

Southampton appoint World Cup winner Terry Paine as honorary president

Club legend, World Cup winner: Paine appointed Southampton's honorary president

PUBLISHED:

12:37 GMT, 26 December 2012

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UPDATED:

12:37 GMT, 26 December 2012

Southampton have today revealed their record appearance-maker Terry Paine is to become their honorary president.

Paine was a member of England's 1966 World Cup-winning squad and played 815 times for Saints between 1957 and 1974.

He has now been appointed honorary president and will take up the role on January 1, with a remit to act as an ambassador for Saints both at home and abroad.

Hero: Terry Paine (right) is Southampton's record appearance holder

Hero: Terry Paine (right) is Southampton's record appearance holder

The 73-year-old, who lives in South Africa, will be presented with his new title by the family of ex-Southampton manager Ted Bates on New Year's Day before the Arsenal game.

'It is a great honour for me to be named honorary president of Southampton Football Club,' Paine told the club's official website.

World Cup winner: Paine (right) was part of England's victorious 1966 team

World Cup winner: Paine (right) was part of England's victorious 1966 team

Executive chairman Nicola Cortese, who was recently accused of not wanting 'anything to do with anything that happened before he turned up' by club stalwart Matthew Le Tissier, said: 'I can think of no one more deserving of this prestigious title than Terry Paine.'

Jason Puncheon back in favour at Southampton

Jason is Puncheon his weight at last after scoring Saints' winner against Reading

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 9 December 2012

The remarkable turnaround at Southampton is matched by the remarkable turnaround in the career of their match-winner against Reading.

In January Jason Puncheon looked like he had committed career suicide when he used Twitter to slam Southampton executive chairman Nicola Cortese – his boss.

Puncheon didn’t pull any punches. He accused the Swiss-Italian of forcing him to train with the youngsters, called him ‘Nicolina’ and threatened to spend the rest of his contract, that runs until 2013, training with the reserves and youth team.

Main man: Jason Puncheon (second right) celebrates scoring against Reading

Main man: Jason Puncheon (second right) celebrates scoring against Reading

Puncheon patch-up

What he said Saturday, January 21:

‘I’m not going no where gonna sit an train with the reserves/kids for 18months see how cortese likes that then go on free.

‘Most of u fail to understand that only reason I train with the kids is cos of nicolina not the manager.

‘He won’t speak to face to face that’s how much a man he is.’

What he said Saturday, December 8:

‘People make out Nicola to be a
stern, stubborn character but what he is, is a man of his word. You have
to always give credit to that. He has a good driving force behind
himself.

'When I joined I remember the day I
signed he said this football club will be in the Premier League in five
years time – it happened in three years.’

But then Cortese called him in for clear-the-air talks and the winger apologised to him. The next day he was back in training.

Fast-forward 10 months and he found the bottom left corner with a shot across goal in the 61st minute against Reading to lift Saints out of the relegation zone for the first time this season.

It was his fourth goal in all competitions this season and third in the league and he has established himself as one of Southampton’s most dangerous attacking threats.

‘It’s all about growing and maturing as an adult and a player and I’m doing that now,’ Puncheon said after scoring that goal. ‘The gaffer has given me a platform and given me a chance and I’ve grasped it with two hands. That’s what’s happened and that’s why we are where we are.

‘I wasn’t nervous about [meeting Nicola] because he is a man of his word. We had a meeting, we spoke. The next day I was at training. That was the most important thing for me to be settled and start playing again. We had clear-the-air talks and as far as I’m concerned that’s all history. I’m just pleased to get the chance and keep producing.’

Rescued: Puncheon (left) had looked to be heading out of Southampton

Rescued: Puncheon (left) had looked to be heading out of Southampton

His outburst in January followed three loan spells to Millwall, Blackpool and QPR in just less than two years, the first of which came 10 months after his arrival at the club in February 2010. It was during two seasons when Saints were flying and won back-to-back promotions that has landed them back in the Premier League.

They did not drop below fifth in League One in the entire second half of the 2010/11 season. The next campaign in the Championship they did not drop out of the top two at all.

‘It was difficult for me to come back as much as I was loaned out I was coming back to a team that was winning week-in-week-out,’ the 26-year-old added.

‘The club were second in the Championship when I came back and were in the top two all season it’s hard to come back in and hit the ground running the way the boys were playing. I knew coming back having a good preseason would be the start for me and that’s what I needed.

Turnaround: Southampton manager Nigel Adkins has worked wonders

Turnaround: Southampton manager Nigel Adkins has worked wonders

‘I learned a lot from all different types of experiences. That’s what’s helped me now to be settled and to mature as an adult and a player. I wouldn’t change anything the way I went about my career so far, I wouldn’t change any of it. That’s helped me grow as a player and as a human being.’

His manager Nigel Adkins believes Puncheon deserves all the credit he gets. The 56-year-old said: ‘We treat people as human beings and they have all got to be allowed to make mistakes and grow. All the credit that Jason will get now is down to him because he is the one who has got to do it. He’s a great story. It shows how well people can do when you give them an opportunity.’

Following back-to-back promotions Southampton appeared to be punching above their weight in the Premier League at the start of the season. But Puncheon’s goal on Saturday moved them to 15th and they are starting to look like they fit in as well as the midfielder does in their team.

Southampton want to sign Scott Dann

Adkins wants 6m-rated Dann to shore up Saints defence in January

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 9 December 2012

Southampton intend to revive their interest in Blackburn defender Scott Dann next month.

Manager Nigel Adkins was put off by Rovers’ demand for a 6million fee in the summer when he initially enquired.

Wanted man: Scott Dann (left) is a target for Premier League Southampton

Wanted man: Scott Dann (left) is a target for Premier League Southampton

But he has continued to send scouts to check on Dann, 25, and is willing to table an offer.

Blackburn meanwhile, who are also braced for the sale of goalkeeper Paul Robinson, are interested in Stoke midfielder Wilson Palacios and Tottenham keeper Brad Friedel.

Nigel Adkins proud of Southampton

Adkins proud of brave Saints after victory over Reading lifts them out of drop zone

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UPDATED:

20:18 GMT, 8 December 2012

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins is proud of the way his players rose to the challenge against fellow strugglers Reading today to move out of the relegation zone with a 1-0 victory.

Saints came into the match a place, and three points, better off than their opponents, who pipped the Hampshire side to the npower Championship title last season.

Adkins' side exacted revenge for that today, with Jason Puncheon's solitary goal enough to secure victory and propel Southampton up to 15th in the Barclays Premier League standings.

Delight: Jason Puncheon scored the decisive goal

Delight: Jason Puncheon scored the decisive goal

'It is a good three points for us,' the Saints boss said. 'It is important to win our home games, especially against the teams close to us in the league.

'I thought we thoroughly deserved the victory today and, in fact, I would have liked us to have scored some more goals from the opportunities we created.

'All-in-all, we've got to be happy with the clean sheet and three points. The players stepped up to the mark.

'There might be talk [of pressure] on the outside, but the players deserve all the credit.

'They work really hard on the training ground and there is a great togetherness about them.

'They've gone out and put on a very good performance. I think if we can keep concentrating on our performances and what we want to do, we give ourselves an opportunity to go and win.'

Right-winger Puncheon was the standout player for Southampton and Adkins felt he should have had two goals today, having seen a first-half header chalked off.

'It was a great goal, I am delighted with it,' Adkins said of the goal that did stand.

Eyes on the prixe: Adam Lallana looks to control the ball

Eyes on the prixe: Adam Lallana looks to control the ball

Struggle: Both Reading and Southampton are near the foot of the table

Struggle: Both Reading and Southampton are near the foot of the table

'Jason could have had a few more. He had a few opportunities and a perfectly good goal disallowed as well.

'But the goal is off the training ground and we have a midfield player dropping out in between the defender and the full-back.

'We get somebody in the pocket, our full-back playing up high and wide player coming inside. Good quick play and an excellent goal.'

Asked if he thought the disallowed goal was one of a number of decisions to have gone against Saints recently, Adkins retorted: 'Yes, but it will change.

'We will keep grafting, we won't whinge about it and we will get on with it.'

While there were many positives for Southampton today, including a second Premier League clean sheet, they did lose captain Adam Lallana to injury in the first half.

'We've got him in a brace and he is on crutches at the moment,' Adkins said. 'That is standard procedure.

'He has got a knee injury and what we will do is assess that over the next 24 to 48 hours and that will give us a better prognosis to how long potentially he will be out for.

'It could be short, it could be longer. We don't know so we won't guess at the moment.'

Southampton fans will hope the two-week break they now have due to scheduled opponents Chelsea's Club World Cup commitments will allow Lallana time to recover.

Proud: Nigel Adkins was delighted with the result

Proud: Nigel Adkins was delighted with the result

Adkins also revealed that the period should be enough for Argentinian goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga to return to training from a shoulder injury.

While Southampton can relax, starting with their Christmas party tomorrow night, Reading face a quick turnaround.

Brian McDermott's side were second best at St Mary's today as they slumped to a fourth successive defeat – hardly ideal preparation for a trip to Sunderland on Tuesday.

'We are disappointed,' the Reading boss said. 'We had an opportunity [to win] in the first half and hit the post.

'That first goal was always going to be really, really important. They got it.

'In the second half I didn't really feel we stepped on the way we needed to get three points, never mind one.

Ouch: Adkins hopes that the two weeks off they have will give Lallana time to recover

Ouch: Adkins hopes that the two weeks off they have will give Lallana time to recover

'I think it is hard to look and reflect straight after the game. At the moment, you would imagine there would be a lot of doom and gloom around the place after a loss like that.

'I understand that completely because the second half we did not really do ourselves justice, especially with the ball.

'We know we have to be better than that and we now have another game on Tuesday to pick ourselves up.'

Roberto Di Matteo could be set for Southampton job

Saint Robbie Di Matteo could be set for swift return with Southampton

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UPDATED:

09:52 GMT, 25 November 2012

Roberto Di Matteo could be set for a swift return to management with struggling Southampton, according to reports.

The Swiss-born Italian was sacked by Chelsea this week just six months after lifting the Champions League and FA Cup, but could be in line for the St Mary’s job if Nigel Adkins loses his job.

Adkins is clinging on to his job following a crucial win over QPR last weekend but has to have a great run of results over the next few weeks to prove his Premier League credentials.

Heading for the south coast Roberto Di Matteo could be given the Southampton job

Heading for the south coast Roberto Di Matteo could be given the Southampton job

Saints executive chairman Nicola Cortese is a good friend of Di Matteo’s and is not prepared to put the club’s top flight status at risk – especially with the bumper TV money coming next season.

Cortese likes the idea of having a Champions League-winning boss at the helm.

Will he stay or will he go: Nigel Adkins is fighting to save his job

Will he stay or will he go: Nigel Adkins is fighting to save his job

Di Matteo was the man who alerted Cortese to the chance of taking over Southampton in 2009 when Alan Pardew was sacked – but according to The People that move could now happen.