Mark Hughes frontrunner to replace Pellegrino at Southampton

Guido Carrillo of Southampton battles for possesion with Kurt Zouma of Stoke City during the Premier League match between Southampton and Stoke City at St Mary's Stadium

Pellegrino was sacked last night after the Saints dropped to one point above the relegation zone and won only one of their last 17 Premier League games.

Saints are now one place and one point above the relegation zone and realistically need three more wins (they only managed five in 30 games this season under Pellegrino) to stay out of the bottom three.

The south-coast club made a decision to act two days after losing at Newcastle 3-0, after which Pellegrino said some of his players "gave up".

Southampton will play its next premier league game against Swansea City. He has taken charge of nearly 450 Premier League games and has never been relegated. The Portuguese coach is available, having lost his job back in January, but will no doubt be conscious of a second successive Premier League relegation, having suffered the dreaded drop with Hull last season.

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Southampton have won only once in their last 17 EPL outings, though the team have qualified for the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

So, who are the frontrunners to take over Southampton? Hughes is sixth on the Premier League list for matches managed behind Arsène Wenger, Sir Alex Ferguson, Harry Redknapp, David Moyes and Sam Allardyce.

Pellegrino had replaced the now-Leicester City manager Claude Puel last summer after the Frenchman was dismissed despite a strong top-half finish and a League Cup runners-up medal. "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 face a huge relegation clash in their next league match when they go to West Ham United, who are one place and two points better off in the table.

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