Southampton have received a huge boost ahead of their crucial Europa League clash against Inter Milan at St Mary’s on Thursday night after the Italian club sacked Frank de Boer.
Well, despite beating Saints 1-0 in the reverse fixture at the San Siro a fortnight ago, the Italian giants have lost six of their last eight matches in Serie A as well as two of their first three games in Europe.
That has left them in 12th position in the league and De Boer, who was said to be on Southampton’s shortlist when they were looking for a replacement for Ronald Koeman in the summer, has paid the price after just 85 days in charge.
The Saints were unfortunate to be beaten at the San Siro a fortnight ago and they probably would have won if they had been more clinical in front of goal.
Of course, you never know how the departure of a manager will affect a team, but they will also know that there won’t be time for their opponents to appoint a permanent successor by Thursday.
Claude Puel will also be aware that this could be the fixture that will determine whether his team can qualify for the knockout stages of the competition, especially with Sparta Prague hosting Hapoel Be’er Sheva, whom they beat away previously to move to the top of Group K.