Benali appointed as Southampton manager
June 1st 2015
Southampton Football Club have today announced that Saints legend Francis Benali has been appointed as manager. Benali, who made over 300 appearances for the club, was previously part of the youth coaching setup at St. Mary’s.
The ex-Saint has been given a one-year contract, and is expected to bring in an assistant manager as soon as possible. There are questions as to whether there will be a lot of movement on the transfer front, with Benali possibly looking at bringing in a full-back and midfielder due to lack of depth in those areas.
In his first press conference since being appointed manager at Southampton, Francis Benali has made it very clear that he plans on building on the foundations already in place at the club.
‘I know this club inside out – the coaching staff and board members may have changed since I was last here, but it’s still the same club. There is a certain mentality, a philosophy, as some might say, here that naturally encourages development and success. Everything is directed towards reaching the highest possible level of achievement, from the youth setup to the scouting team. We breed success.’
When asked about his plans for bringing in an assistant manager, Benali said that he knew who he wanted to bring in from the moment he signed his contract.
‘I have my sights set on someone, but whether a deal materialises is a different matter altogether. I am, however, confident that we can bring in someone who will be a great asset to the club very soon.’
During the press conference, Benali was also asked whether he planned on making any changes to the coaching staff and scouting team at St. Mary’s.
‘I have a few people in mind. There is a great coaching setup here already, proven by the number of talented youngsters that have come through the academy over the past decade. However, I would like to bring in a number of people of my own to improve on what we already have here. This does mean that some people will have to leave but I believe that some changes are necessary to achieve the success we aim to.’
The inevitable questions about transfer policy and potential targets were met with a wry smile from Benali.
‘The scouting team here is wonderful. They have already presented me with some transfer targets and reports on players from across the world, and i will be looking at them in more detail over the coming days. It is important to me that players have the right mentality and work ethic to be a part of our squad.’
When asked if he could offer any insight as to which players he would like to add to the team, Benali laughed, before saying ‘I’m sure that the media can think of a few!’