How Jason Puncheon punctured Cortese's Southampton plans

When Southampton hit their equaliser against Chelsea last week, their chairman was unlikely to have been celebrating.

It appears from all accounts as though Nigel Adkins was a 'dead man walking' at Southampton for months.

New manager Mauro Pochettino has said he spent 'several weeks' researching the squad, a timescale which doesn't take into account the time chairman Nicola Cortese spent deciding that he was the man he wanted.

Clearly the sacking of Adkins and installation of Pochettino was supposed to be a well co-ordinated coup, so how did it go so wrong?

Cortese was likely ready to pull the trigger on this deal for quite some time, but Southampton's recent good form put an unexpected hazard in the road.

What the chairman really needed, perversely, was for his side to get a hammering.

With time ticking on, the coup had to take place in January; sacking managers in February when the transfer window is closed is a pointless exercise.

So the chairman identified the game with Chelsea as the game which would be the 'last straw'.

Surely a Chelsea side featuring new striker Demba Ba, and £80 million worth of summer signings at their disposal would put his Southampton team to the sword?

If Southampton were beaten 4-0 or 5-0, it would have provided a far more reasonable backdrop as to why the club need to move forward with a new manager.

Instead Cortese's own team dealt his dastardly plans a blow he did not expect when they drew at Stamford Bridge.

At 2-0 down he must have been a relieved man, but when Jason Puncheon - Ironically a man he has had several disagreements with in the past - scored the equaliser Cortese had to grin and pretend to be happy, even if he was cursing inside.

It was too late to turn back, Cortese went ahead and shocked the league by dismissing Adkins anyway.

The public outcry was to be expected after one of the club's best away results of the season, drawing against the third placed team; but Cortese showed he is a man of conviction, good or bad, by sticking unwaveringly to his plans.

Time, and survival, will ultimately tell if he was right.

image: © ingythewingy

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