Marco Silva early front-runner to replace Pellegrino at Saints

Rafael Benitez

In response to the sacking, Gary Lineker jokingly tweeted: "Pointless Southampton firing their manager at this stage of the season when neither Pulis nor Allardyce are out of work".

However Rafael Benítez's side boosted their own survival chances with Kenedy putting in a man-of-the-match performance with two goals inside the first half-hour, Matt Ritchie rounded off Pellegrino's final curtain call and he stated post-match that he was "sorry" to the fans as they failed to represent the "values" of the club.

Pellegrino's assistant Carlos Compagnucci and assistant first team Coach Xavier Tamarit will also leave the club with immediate effect. The south coast club is now just a point and one place above the drop zone.

They are only a point above third-bottom Crystal Palace with eight games to play, their next game an FA Cup quarter-final with League One Wigan Athletic before a crucial trip to 16th-placed West Ham.

"The club will look to appoint a new management team as soon as possible, with the search for a replacement already underway", the statement added.

The club were concerned that they were sleepwalking towards the drop after a dismal run of one win in 17 league games that leaves them a place and a point above the relegation zone.

Under Pellegrino, Southampton have not won a home Premier League fixture since November and their only victory since then came in the form of a 3-2 triumph at fellow strugglers West Brom.

Southampton, who are the ninth Premier League club to change manager this term, are in their sixth straight season in the top flight and have not finished lower than 14th in that time.

Following Saturday's defeat, Pellegrino admitted that he "observed some players who gave up".

'I think Pellegrino has had a good opportunity to turn things around.

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