Pochettino staying with Saints

16 January 2014 06:46

Mauricio Pochettino has decided not to walk away from Southampton in the wake of executive chairman Nicola Cortese's exit.

The Saints manager stopped short on Thursday of committing beyond the end of the season, however, and to the full 17 months remaining on his contract.

Admitting he cannot be definitive about his long-term future at the club, Pochettino said: "It's very hard to say at the moment, I think it's very soon to say about that."

In acknowledging surprise at Cortese's Wednesday night resignation, the 41-year-old Southampton coach revealed his former boss told him not to follow suit and leave St Mary's.

Pochettino has met with Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr, who has installed herself as non-executive chairman and offered her backing to the club's current coaching staff.

"What's quite clear is I have a very good relationship with Nicola Cortese," Pochettino said. "He agrees with my decision to stay and there's nothing more I can say about that right now.

"He only asked me for one thing and that's to try to win on Saturday (against Sunderland).

"I don't know (why he decided to leave), it's quite difficult to say, I found out yesterday as you did about his decision.

"Of course it has surprised me quite a bit, the same as other people at the club."

The conversation with Liebherr was short, but apparently reassuring.

"I met her for five minutes, she told me we have her full support. She wants the club to be stable and that we need to look forward to the future," Pochettino said.

Press Association Sport understands Cortese harbours deep ambitions to take up another post in English football.

The 45-year-old is also clearly keen to reprise his double-act with Pochettino, with sources describing the duo as having a very strong bond.

There is every likelihood that former Argentina defender Pochettino will bide his time until the end of the season, by which time there may be a prospect of a reunion with the man who brought him to Southampton in January 2013.

Cortese's resignation is believed to have been based around a difference of vision on Southampton's long-term future.

Suggestions the departed executive chairman had fallen out with the owners over salary or share options are believed to be wide of the mark.

Liebherr has pledged to appoint a chief executive to replace Cortese in the long run, but Pochettino admitted he does not yet know who will handle day-to-day affairs, such as transfer dealings.

"It's still too soon to talk about this (who deals with transfers), we will see in the future how the tasks are unfolded at this club, who does what at this club," Pochettino said.

"I'm sure the club will designate a person to speak to about all of that."

Manchester City are among a group of clubs that could make lucrative bids for teenage defender Luke Shaw, while England striker Rickie Lambert has been linked with a move to West Ham this month.

Pochettino said he is not aware of any bid for Shaw, but vowed no-one that he wants to keep will leave the club.

"I want to make one thing clear: no-one is for sale at Southampton, no-one," he said.

"No player that I don't want to leave will leave this club."

Source: PA