SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – Southampton fired Claude Puel on Wednesday after only one season in charge, with the manager unable to save his job despite leading the Premier League club to its first major final in almost four decades.
In a short statement, the club gave no reason for the decision to terminate the Frenchman’s contract with immediate effect.
In recent years, Southampton has been more accustomed to its managers being prized away by rival clubs, along with its top playing talent.
The fact that Southampton annually cashes in on its prized assets made it even more noteworthy that the team finished eighth in the league and reached a Wembley final. In its first English League Cup final in 38 years, Southampton narrowly lost to Manchester United in February.
“Everyone at Southampton would like to express our thanks to Claude for his hard work and commitment this year,” the club said in a statement.
“The highlight of the season was a memorable day at Wembley in the EFL Cup Final, a day our fans will always treasure. We wish Claude well for the future.
“The search for a new management team is underway. We are confident that we will find the right fit in line with the long term vision of the club.”
The bookmakers’ favorite to succeed Puel was Thomas Tuchel, who was fired by Borussia Dortmund last month after falling out with the German club’s management. Dortmund finished third in the Bundesliga, securing a place in the Champions League, and won the German Cup after an inconsistent season.