This morning, just a few days after sealing their status as a Premier League side for next season, Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino revealed he would leave the club if executive chairman Nicola Cortese stands down.
The surprising comments came in Pochettino’s press conference, as he looked ahead to the Saints’ final game of the EPL season against Stoke City on Sunday.
His comments come after doubt has been thrown on the future of Cortese, who rescued the club from administration in League One and guided them back to to the EPL within three seasons.
His contract to run the club on behalf of the wealthy Liebherr family could change, with the Italian keen to rectify his position as the leading decision maker at St. Mary’s.
Public backing from his manager will only pile more pressure on the clubs owners to keep Cortese at the club. Is that the plan?
The reality is we share a common passion and we share a long-term plan for this club. We share our passion for football and it would not make much sense for me to continue at this club if he is not here. I do not understand Southampton without Nicola in the future and I think the reality is Nicola has created everything we see at Southampton now. I’m very happy at the club. I’m very happy with the supporters and I’m very happy in the city.
You can listen here to the part of the interview where Pochettino discusses possibly walking away from the club if Cortese isn’t kept on.
So how closely can we look into these comments?
Pochettino is only 15 games into his reign as Southampton’s manager. He has guided them to EPL safety in their first-season back in the top flight since 2005. His English is limited and he speaks through a translator. But he knew exactly the message he was getting across.
Pochettino and Cortese are linked as one, they share the same ambitious vision for the South Coast club. They mean business.
The former Argentine international has led the Saints to victory over Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool as their exciting brand of attacking football has impressed many observers of the EPL. But he did arrive in unpopular circumstances, after fans favorite Nigel Adkins was fired in January by the ruthless Cortese.
However I believe this is nothing but a simple show of faith and believe from Pochettino, in the man who gave him a chance to show what he can do on the worlds biggest stage.
(More: Lambert re-ups with Southampton, a club full of ambition)
With plans already being made for next season, Saints fans will be hoping to see big-name players arrive at the club as they look to establish themselves in the top-10 of the EPL.
Pochettino and his players have already set the aim of reaching the UEFA Champions League in the coming seasons and are dreaming big.
All that might have to stop if Cortese quits and Southampton’s manager goes with him. But I don’t think it will go that far.
At least I hope not, I was planning on enjoying their rise up the EPL and into Europe in the coming years.