Mauricio Pellegrino on Monday night paid the price for Southampton’s alarming slump after he was axed by the south coast club.
The Argentinian was only appointed as manager last summer but the Saints hierarchy pulled the trigger with eight games remaining as they attempt to cling on to the Premier League status.
Southampton have won just one of their last 17 league matches – against bottom club West Brom – with Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Newcastle proving to be the final straw.
That latest setback left Saints languishing just one place and one point above the relegation zone.
Former Liverpool defender Pellegrino had been under increasing pressure as the season progressed, with fans frustrated by his perceived defensive tactics and pundits accusing the players of not playing for him.
Pellegrino admitted as much himself after the Newcastle defeat, saying: “I observed some players who gave up and we cannot show this, to be honest.
“You can lose, you can play badly, but you have to show another face on the pitch.
“For this reason, I would like to say sorry to our fans because we couldn’t represent our club properly. This is the worst thing that we did today.”
Pellegrino, 46, arrived at St Mary’s as the replacement for Claude Puel, who was sacked despite guiding them to an eighth-placed finish and the League Cup final.
To rub salt in the wounds Puel is now flourishing at Leicester, who currently lie eighth.
Saints will be hoping to appoint Pellegrino’s successor quickly, with an FA Cup quarter-final at Wigan looming on Sunday.
They then face a crunch clash with relegation rivals West Ham at the London Stadium on March 31.
Assistant manager Carlos Compagnucci and assistant first-team coach Xavier Tamarit have also parted company with the club.
A Southampton statement read: “We would like to place on record our thanks to Mauricio, Carlos and Xavier for their efforts during their time with Southampton, and wish them well for the future.
“The club will look to appoint a new management team as soon as possible, with the search for a replacement already under way.”