Puel takes over at St Mary’s

Southampton have announced the appointment of Claude Puel as the club's new manager to replace Ronald Koeman.

The 54-year-old has agreed a three-year contract with the Saints and will officially begin his duties when the first team returns to pre-season training at the start of July.

The south coast club also took the opportunity to reshuffle their technical team. Eric Black has been appointed as the first-team coach along with Pascal Plancque, who will become assistant coach.

Dave Watson also signed a new deal at St Mary's, which will see him remain as part of Puel's backroom staff, while Sammy Lee has parted ways with the Saints.

Executive director of football Les Reed told the club's official website: "The process to appoint a new first-team manager has been diligent and meticulous. In order to ensure we appointed a manager who would meet our needs as a club, feedback from the dressing room, as well as taking account of our culture, vision and values, was critical in drawing up our criteria for the appointment.

"As the process eliminated a number of excellent candidates, Claude clearly came out on top of a very impressive shortlist. We have not only got the best man, but the right coaching team to support him.

"Eric Black has an excellent pedigree as a coach and vast experience domestically and internationally. Pascal Plancque has an excellent record as a technical coach and, like Claude, has been responsible for developing many young French talents into top quality players.

"We have an excellent group of first-team players who are keen to take another step forward. There is already a confidence and excitement in the building as some of the squad has returned for testing and they are in great shape.

"Claude has a fantastic platform to work from and is aware that our ambition is to repeat and improve on our performances in the Premier League over the past three seasons.

"Claude has a track record of improving the situations he has been presented with and we are confident he can repeat this at Southampton. His Champions League and European experience will be valuable in our Europa League challenge this coming season and with the support of our excellent staff at the club I am sure he will do well.

"We are once again excited about what the new season will bring, and we will continue to chase records as we have done in recent years."

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