Relegation-threatened Southampton fires manager Pellegrino

FILE - A Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018 file photo showing Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino applauding during the English Premier League soccer match between Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur at the St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, England. Southampton fired manager Mauricio Pellegrino on Monday, March 12, 2018 in a bid to stop the team’s slide out of the English Premier League. The south-coast club decided to act two days after a 3-0 loss at Newcastle, after which Pellegrino said some of his players “gave up.” (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

SOUTHAMPTON, England — Southampton fired manager Mauricio Pellegrino on Monday in a bid to stop the team sliding out of the English Premier League.

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

Southampton is in 17th place, a point and a place above the relegation zone. The team has been in the Premier League since 2012.

"The club will look to appoint a new management team as soon as possible," the club said in a brief statement, "with the search for a replacement already underway."

The 46-year-old Pellegrino joined on a three-year deal in June last year, weeks after leaving Spanish team Alaves.

The Argentine was unable to add more attacking flair to a team that struggled for goals toward the end of last season under Claude Puel, and fans have recently been calling for Southampton to play two strikers up front to be more of a threat.

Southampton has 29 goals in 30 games, winning only five of them.

The defeat at Newcastle was one of the low points of the season for the Saints, with Pellegrino saying after the game: "I haven't seen my team compete in this way this season, without the spirit you need to compete at this level."

Assistant manager Carlos Compagnucci and assistant first-team coach Xavier Tamarit have also left the club.

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