Former Manchester United and England full-back Gary Neville says that Southampton need to hire an experienced “hit man” manager to save themselves from relegation.

Southampton currently sit in 17th place in the Premier League, just a point above the drop zone, and with just eight games remaining, they need to start acquiring points immediately.

Neville, speaking as a pundit on Sky Sports, said that Saints have taken a gamble by sacking Mauricio Pellegrino and are hoping to get a bit of a new manager bounce, the type that Swansea City got when they hired Carlos Carvalhal.

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Neville said:

They need a hit man to go in there, someone with the experience of being down there in the league, somebody who can get immediate results. It’s not an exact science, we’ve seen it work at clubs this season, we’ve seen it fail at clubs this season, and previous seasons. It’s just a gamble, that’s all it is, and with the money at stake, clubs are willing to take that gamble more and more often. They will go for it, and change managers, even at this time.

Mark Hughes is apparently the leading candidate to take over the hot seat at St Mary’s, and he fits the bill of an experienced Premier League manager, although his time at Stoke City did not end well, with the Potters one of the three teams below Saints in the league table.

However, Neville said Pellegrino can’t take all of the blame for Southampton’s failure this year as the club continuously sells their best players.

One thing is for certain, that club has been obliterated for players and managers over the last few years, and there comes a point where a manager is going to have a squad which isn’t as good as it should be because the recruitment can’t continually support the release of good players