It’s been a strange season for Southampton. They’ve reached the EFL Cup final, beaten Inter Milan in Europe and are still in the top half of the Premier League, though the south coast outfit are far from a picture of happy families right now.
Manager Claude Puel was booed off by sections of the St. Mary’s support following a rather drab goalless draw with relegation battlers Hull City, a game in which they registered just two efforts on target.
Indeed, one of the sewing motifs of the Saints’ march up towards becoming one of the most competitive teams in the Premier League has been their consistency. Both Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman played exciting, attacking football and managed to secure top-eight finishes since the 2013/14 season.
Currently, Southampton sit in ninth and face difficult fixtures between now and the end of the campaign. They’ve still to play Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United and could easily slip into the bottom half, so recent reports suggesting Puel’s future is far from certain don’t come as that much of a surprise.
L’Equipe suggested the former Nice coach faces an uncertain future, while the Daily Telegraph claim top brass on the south coast constantly update a list of potential managers and could consider their options at the end of the season.
With those reports in mind, we recently asked our Southampton-supporting readers here at Football FanCast whether or not the Saints should stick with their boss.
As you can see above, 55% of those who voted would like to see the Frenchman depart this summer. While the 45% who’d be in favour of giving him another season barely suggest the club is all too divided right now, it’s not a situation Southampton have been in for a number of years.
Granted, Puel has had some difficult obstacles to overcome this season. In his first year managing outside of France, he’s had European commitments and injuries to key players, with the likes of Charlie Austin and the excellent Virgil van Dijk missing swathes of the campaign.
Still, the Saints exited the Europa League at the group stage in what ultimately proved to be a disappointment and the constant tinkering has invoked the ire of the Southampton faithful it seems.
Whether or not he leaves remains to be seen, but you’d back the board at St. Mary’s to make a good decision on that front, having got the majority of them right in recent years.