IT’s been a long, difficult road for Guido Carrillo from his last Mauricio Pellegrino embrace to the one the two friends recently shared at Staplewood.

Under the St Mary’s chief in their Argentina homeland at La Plata outfit Estudiantes, Saints’ new £19.2m record signing from Monaco flourished, posting his best season in 2013/14 with 13 league goals.

And, now, after nearly three years apart, the South American pair are reunited in the soggier climes of wintery England, where Pellegrino is betting on Carrillo helping Saints avoid relegation from the Premier League.

The 6ft3in striker was clearly a welcome sight to the under-pressure manager, who warmly embraced Carrillo on his arrival at Staplewood on Thursday ahead of his big-money move.

Now Carrillo is back under Pellegrino’s wing, the two can do each other a massive favour, and in turn Southampton Football Club.

For Pellegrino, Carrillo can perhaps stick the ball in the net and save Saints from the drop and his manager from the chop.

For Carrillo, Pellegrino can revitalise a career that has not gone far since the two were last  together.

Since Carrillo moved to Monaco in July 2015, just three months after Pellegrino was sacked by Estudiantes, he has often made do with a place on the bench, as more prestigious names did the business on the pitch.

Carrillo had to feed on scraps, while Radamel Falcao, Kylian Mbappe et al, feasted on the better cuts in the principality during his two-and-a-half season stay.

But now, at Saints, he’s front and centre and he wants to repay the faith show in him by Pellegrino.

"It’s really important as a player, above all as a striker, to be given confidence by the manager, coaches and the club," he said.

"It gives me lots of confidence and I want to take that confidence out onto the pitch."

Carrillo had started just twice in the French top-flight this season and the promise of regular football at St Mary's was a huge draw.

"That’s the main reason why I took the decision to leave Monaco and join Southampton," he said.

"I wasn’t getting the consecutive games I wanted and there was a situation at Monaco with Radamel Falcao playing as the main striker so hopefully with this decision I will get to play the number of games I want."

He continued: "I did everything the right way but when you have someone like Falcao who is one of the best players in the position in world football, for me, you have to just push as hard as you can.

"As a player, you want to play consistently but you can keep growing as a player."

Carrillo knows his Saints move could be the biggest of his career.

"I think it will be a big step of my career as this will give me the chance to make a name for myself in European football," he said.

"I’ve always had the desire and intention to play here in England."

But he doesn't want to get ahead of himself, especially as he's played just seven minutes in a Saints shirt, having made his debut as a late substitute in the 1-0 win over Watford in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday.

“It is important not to look too far ahead," he said.

"It is important to put in place short-term goals.

"Our objective at the minute is to get out of the position we are in and to do that, we need to stay calm and work with stability."

He added: "I found it a very optimistic dressing room.

"I was actually quite surprised at how confident and focused everyone is.

"Every player was concentrating so much and they’re clearly focused together to get out of the situation that we’re in."

Carrillo is fully aware that Saints must pull away from the relegation zone and knows the right man is at the helm to lead them to safety.

“I know him very well. I have worked with him before," he said about Pellegrino.

"He works with a lot of intensity, which for me is great, and training is marked by a level of detail and can be very demanding. Mauricio and the other coaches give you something as a player, they teach you, they make you learn and improve and that is very important."