We've picked out five facts about new First Team manager Mauricio Pellegrino that you may not have known before.
He has played at St Mary’s once before
Pellegrino was part of the Liverpool team that visited Saints for a Premier League fixture in January 2005. It was actually the former centre-back’s first away game in the division, having joined the Reds that month. The match ended in a 2-0 win for the hosts, with David Prutton and Peter Crouch scoring.
He played under Louis van Gaal and José Mourinho at Barcelona
Then Barca boss van Gaal brought Pellegrino to the Nou Camp in August 1998, as he moved on a loan deal from Vélez Sarsfield in his homeland of Argentina. Current Manchester United boss Mourinho was on van Gaal’s coaching staff at the time – with Pellegrino spending a week following him when he was Chelsea boss – while he played alongside greats such as Pep Guardiola, Luís Figo, Rivaldo and Luis Enrique to name a few, helping the Catalan club to the La Liga title.
Former Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino is one of his friends
Pochettino, who took charge of Saints from January 2013 until the summer of 2014, and Pellegrino both hail from Argentina and know each other well. The pair both played in Spain and went on the same coaching course when they were making the transition towards management.
He cut his teeth in coaching under Rafa Benítez
After a spell working with the youth team at Valencia, Pellegrino got his first big break in coaching when Benítez, who has signed him as a player at Liverpool, added him to his staff at Anfield. He then followed Benítez to Internazionale in 2010, before his first management job, at Valencia, two years later. He will be looking forward to a reunion with Benítez, who is now Newcastle boss, when the teams meet, at St Mary’s, in October.
He has just led Alavés to one of the best seasons in their history
Taking over the newly-promoted side last summer, he guided the Spanish club to a ninth-place finish in La Liga – a position they have bettered only three times in their history. Their first win of the season was a special one, as they triumphed 2-1 at Pellegrino’s former club, Barcelona. On top of that, he took them to their first ever Copa del Rey final, where they were beaten 3-1 by Barcelona.