Welshman Mark Hughes was firming as the bookmakers' favourite to replace Mauricio Pellegrino as Southampton manager on Tuesday after the Argentine was sacked with the Premier League club hovering a point and a place above the relegation zone. Southampton are hoping to announce their new manager before they visit third-tier Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday with their next league game not until March 31 when they travel to West Ham.
Southampton will look to make a swift appointment following the 46-year-old's departure. The club also sacked two of Pellegrino's assistants.
The latest 3-0 defeat at relegation rivals Newcastle on Saturday proved to be the final straw for the Southampton hierarchy, with the club in danger of being relegated from the top flight for the first time since being promoted in 2012.
Southampton are now one point above the relegation zone and next face West Ham away in the English top flight. They've won just one of their last 17 games.
"We would like to place on record our thanks to Mauricio, Carlos and Xavier for their efforts during their time with Southampton, and wish them well for the future", the Southampton statement added.
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But he was back on the pitch to see Cristiano Ronaldo score his second goal of the game with what turned out to be the victor . Lucas Vazquez and Karim Benzema replaced Isco and Toni Kroos as Zidane looked to raise the tempo and find a second goal.
Pellegrino's assistant Carlos Compagnucci and assistant first team Coach Xavier Tamarit will also leave the club with immediate effect.
Since returning to the Premier League in 2012, Southampton have been successful in managing a high turnover of managers and playing staff.
"When you are losing 2-0, you have to try, and I think we tried to be in the game, to score one, but we were never a threat for Newcastle".
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 live, former Southampton star Francis Benali said: 'It is something that has been bubbling away and has been talked about by Southampton fans for a while.