“The biggest risk in football is to work in football.”

Mauricio Pellegrino’s oft-uttered response when questioned over his future became almost a catchphrase for the Argentinian, and it has proved strikingly accurate in the end.

After just 263 days in charge of Saints, Pellegrino has been axed.

When he arrived at the club, the man who appointed him, Les Reed, said Pellegrino would bring “exciting, attacking football, taking the game to our opponents by playing a high-intensity game.”

It was certainly giving his arrival quite the build-up, and in the end it did Pellegrino no favours.

Those words were so often thrown back at the manager, particularly by fans frustrated at a second successive season of conservative football.

Unlike under Claude Puel, there was also little success to cheer.

Last season eighth and the EFL Cup final wasn’t good enough, so a campaign which sees Pellegrino depart with just five wins from 30 Premier League games was hardly likely to quench a thirst for better.

Even the prospect of a winnable looking FA Cup quarter-final at Wigan wasn’t enough.

It was the manner of the defeat at Newcastle, rather than even the result itself, that prompted Saints to act.

It got to the stage where they decided it was no longer a gamble to replace Pellegrino, as it simply couldn’t get any worse.

In that sense at least it is hard to argue with their logic.

Pellegrino never endeared himself to the fans. Like Puel, he was a pleasant and decent man with strong values and a kind edge, but unable to really publicly generate much dynamism. He was more armchair philosopher at times than the firebrand football manager many supporters wished for.

The fact the team played with such defensive focus, struggled so badly to score goals and that at almost every turn he went risk averse rather than front foot meant he was never likely to endear himself.

Were it not for Newcastle, then even a run of just one win in 17 might not have been enough for him to go before the summer, but with many accepting that change in the closed season was inevitable, and the new backdrop after Saturday’s shambles, the decision was taken.

Pellegrino will likely take it all in his stride. No doubt a healthy pay-off that will run into many millions will take the sting out of it.

But he could also feel aggrieved to the extent that the general frustration of the fans that he has had to deal with is not all about him.

As much as those at the top of St Mary’s try desperately to avoid it, the questions over the ownership continue to hover over the club like a very dark cloud waiting to unleash.

The expectations have been pumped up too high and too fast, and there was seldom much chance of continuing the level of success tasted and desired after selling the best players year on year.

Pellegrino could justifiably complain he didn’t have a good enough squad to work with for a club aiming for a top half finish, and that he was let down in January when, desperate for reinforcements, Saints managed just one new recruit at the end of the window despite having sold a player for a world record fee before it had even opened.

For Reed, the man in charge of football and, to a lesser extent, Ralph Krueger, his boss, things also must seem bleak right now.

Their last two appointments have managed a total of a season and three-quarters between them.

Their recruitment policy, both in terms of managers and players, which has been much trumpeted as a model of excellence, has contributed to this.

And what of the work above them in terms of the ownership?

Now the focus has turned to getting a new man in.

Inevitably there will be those questioning whether Saints have the right people for that particular job, given their recent track record.

There is no room for error now. If the new appointment doesn’t have a bounce effect, then Saints will be in the Championship next season.

If he does then they will probably just about save themselves.

They don’t wish to go for a temporary manager, and instead seek a permanent appointment.

That brings a myriad of problems of its own, not least that a high calibre candidate, to do a job for the long-term, will be hard to recruit at this stage, even if you ignore the financial aspect.

Saints may well want a new manager to realise a vision they have sold and are struggling to deliver, but given their recent track record whoever it is would be wise to heed Pellegrino’s words and not make themselves too comfy.