Southampton sack Puel

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Southampton have confirmed that Claude Puel has been sacked as manager.

The 55-year-old has been dismissed after just one season in charge of the Premier League club.

"Southampton Football Club can today confirm that it has terminated the contract of Claude Puel with immediate effect," a Saints statement released on Wednesday read.

"Everyone at Southampton would like to express our thanks to Claude for his hard work and commitment this year. 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 under way. We are confident that we will find the right fit in line with the long-term vision of the club."

Speculation had been mounting that Puel's time at St Mary's Stadium was drawing to a close following a significant dip in results in the latter half of the 2016-17 season.

Southampton won only four of their remaining 13 league games after they were beaten 3-2 by Manchester United in the EFL Cup final on February 26.

There have also been reports that Puel's relationship with senior players and officials at the club had deteriorated in recent months.

The former Monaco and Lyon boss, who succeeded Ronald Koeman in June 2016, has been linked with a return to Ligue 1 with Saint-Etienne.

Saints are reportedly interested in Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe as a possible replacement, along with ex-Borussia Dortmund head coach Thomas Tuchel.