MAURICIO PELLEGRINO has apologised for leaving Southampton stuck in a relegation battle.
The Argie boss, 46, was axed on Monday after a dire run of form left the Saints just one point above the bottom three.
In a statement, Pellegrino said: “From the beginning I tried to do my best every single day.
“I tried to give back to the club and tried to represent the club with pride.
“Some moments we managed this, some moments we couldn’t, but we have been living a difficult season for many reasons.
"The manager is the face of a lot of decisions and actions, but I always tried to put the club first with my technical staff and the board behind me.
“I feel so sorry to leave the club in this situation, but when you don’t get results I understand the decision the club has to take.”
Former Liverpool coach Pellegrino was tasked with building upon Claude Puel's work when he took over last summer.
Southampton were delighted with an eighth-place finish but wanted to play more attacking football.
Their decision backfired, however, as their style did not improve as results dropped dramatically.
The Saints have eight games left to save their Premier League status - beginning with a trip to fellow strugglers West Ham on March 31.
Club chiefs will want to make an appointment quickly with an FA Cup quarter-final against Wigan on Sunday.