world soccer 5.5.2017 03:18 pm

Under-fire Puel expects Southampton stay

Southampton's French manager Claude Puel gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Southampton at Stamford Bridge in London on April 25, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Glyn KIRK / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /

Southampton's French manager Claude Puel gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Southampton at Stamford Bridge in London on April 25, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Glyn KIRK / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. /

Southampton manager Claude Puel on Friday rubbished claims that he could be sacked by the Premier League club after less than a year in the job.

Reports this week suggested Puel must improve Southampton’s results before the end of the campaign if the 55-year-old Frenchman is to stay in charge.

Although Puel led Southampton to the League Cup final in what is his first season at St Mary’s, Southampton were beaten by Manchester United at Wembley and have slipped out of the race for a top-seven finish after two defeats and a draw in their last three matches.

With Hull manager Marco Silva linked with a move to Southampton, former Nice manager Puel came out fighting, insisting he has the club’s backing and deserves that support after improving their squad.

Asked if he expects to be in charge next season, Puel said: “Yes of course, of course.

“I came here for a project, to continue this work to improve all these young players.

“Many players have become starting players this year, like Maya Yoshida, Oriol Romeu, Jack Stephens so it’s important to continue this role and keep building the future of Southampton.

“I’ve been surprised to see these reports (about his future) because it seems for me it has been an interesting season with many games.

“There have been European games, cup games, with quality. We reached the final at Wembley against Manchester United and we’ve also improved many players.

“So it has surprised me to see and read all this speculation in particular.”

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