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Published: 14:08 | 30/6/16

Puel named Southampton manager

Frenchman signs three-year deal

Southampton have appointed Claude Puel as their new first team manager.

Puel has agreed a three-year deal with the Saints and his appointment comes just one day before the first-team's return to training on July 1.

Southampton were left searching for a new manager following Ronald Koeman's move to Everton and the club believe Puel is the right man to continue the club's progression.

Puel will be joined at St Mary's by assistant manager Eric Black and Pascal Plancque, who will become the club’s First Team Assistant Coach, while Dave Watson has agreed to remain on as part of the backroom staff.

"The process to appoint a new First Team Manager has been diligent and meticulous. In order to ensure we appointed a manager who would meet our needs as a club, feedback from the dressing room, as well as taking account of our culture, vision and values, was critical in drawing up our criteria for the appointment," executive director of football Les Reed said.

“As the process eliminated a number of excellent candidates, Claude clearly came out on top of a very impressive shortlist. We have not only got the best man, but the right coaching team to support him.

“Eric Black has an excellent pedigree as a coach and vast experience domestically and internationally. Pascal Plancque has an excellent record as a technical coach and, like Claude, has been responsible for developing many young French talents into top quality players.

“The development of our young Academy players and delivering a pathway to the first team is key to the role. We were keen to appoint a coaching team who would also work closely with Martin Hunter and Radhi Jaïdi in accelerating the development of our youngsters, as well as developing our current first-team squad as individuals and as a team.

“We have an excellent group of first-team players who are keen to take another step forward. There is already a confidence and excitement in the building as some of the squad has returned for testing and they are in great shape."

Puel spent his entire plating career with Monaco, making over 500 appearances, before moving into management with the club.

After guiding Monaco to the Ligue 1 title, Puel moved to Lille where he spent six seasons before joining Lyon in 2008. Under the Frenchman, Lyon reached the 2010 Champions League semi-final for the first time in their history.

He joins Southampton after four years with Nice.

“Claude has a fantastic platform to work from and is aware that our ambition is to repeat and improve on our performances in the Premier League over the past three seasons," Reed said.

“Claude has a track record of improving the situations he has been presented with and we are confident he can repeat this at Southampton.

“His Champions League and European experience will be valuable in our Europa League challenge this coming season and with the support of our excellent staff at the club I am sure he will do well.

“We are once again excited about what the new season will bring, and we will continue to chase records as we have done in recent years.”

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