14th July 2017. By Edward Stratmann. Having guided newly promoted Alaves to a remarkable ninth place finish in La Liga and reached the Copa del Rey final last season, all while working with the fifth lowest budget in the league, Mauricio Pellegrino's fantastic work clearly caught the attention of Southampton.

Looking for a new manager after being uninspired by Claude Puel's time in charge, who was somewhat harshly sacked at the end of his first campaign, the club knew Pellegrino was the man they wanted to lead mauricio-pellegrino-southamptonthem into the 2017/2018 Premier League crusade.

"We had an impressive list of candidates and went through a comprehensive interview process. Mauricio impressed us throughout with his depth of knowledge, motivation and ability, communicating this in a professional and passionate way," insisted vice chairman Les Reed.

"He has an excellent understanding of the From his experiences playing at the highest level with the likes of group management," explained spirited Alaves captain, Manu Garcia.

"He sees the game very well. He is a strategist, he analyses opponents closely and he believes in juego posicional [positional play]. He has a lot of faith in that approach, in defence but also in attack: respect the positions, a well-ordered team, everything under control. He likes his team to express the way he is: intelligent, understanding, ordered. He works hard during the week and the things he plans for usually happen at the weekend."

Moreover, a key byproduct of his well regimented offensive structure was that it provided a brilliant platform for them to win the ball back once they lost possession. This gave them ideal access to their opponents, meaning they could subsequently counter-press very efficiently to limit being hurt on the break, as they made life very difficult for their opponents to enjoy any time and space to move the ball cleanly.

Other striking aspects of his defensive acuity came courtesy of how he got his team to remain so horizontally and vertically compact when defending deeper, and by the way he coached his players to cohesively time and direct their pressing.

It's clear from watching Alaves and listening to players like Garcia talk that the adaptable Pellegrino is not only a tactical wizard but a man who's able to convey his messages so fruitfully to his players. While his ability to do so will be tested in England, Southampton's upcoming training camp and pre-season fixtures will be a terrific opportunity for him to impose and implement his philosophy onto his new squad.

With just six weeks until the start of the Premier League season, it'll be captivating to see how he fares between now and Southampton's Premier League opener against Swansea City.

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