While the Leeds United-Marcelo Bielsa love story is currently dominating Championship headlines, one of the Whites’ former managers is perhaps doing a much better job. Indeed, having been the first man to beat the infamous Argentinean, Birmingham City boss Garry Monk is starting to prove his worth in the Second City.
After a difficult summer for the Blues, the work Monk is doing is rather incredible. Financial Fair Play problems meant the club were hit with a transfer embargo, leaving the former Swansea City coach with little at his disposal and, despite a difficult start to the campaign, he looks to have turned things around.
Now, given the tools at his disposal, Monk isn’t exactly pulling up any trees in the Championship. However, that fits the needs of another of his former clubs to a tee.
Under Mark Hughes, Southampton look lost in the Premier League. Previously heralded as one of the best-run clubs in Europe, the Saints have started yet another season poorly and, while there are serious failings behind the scenes on the South Coast, the Welshman is barely endearing himself to the Southampton faithful.
Though Hughes managed to keep the club up last season after the Mauricio Pellegrino experiment failed so spectacularly, his constant moaning and inability to properly set up a defence is seriously costing the club this time around. Clearly, there’s still a huge amount of football to be played, though the early signs certainly don’t look promising.
With that in mind, Southampton should learn from Stoke City’s mistake.
Last season, the Potters stuck by the former Manchester City manager for far too long, undoubtedly adding to their doomed bid to stay up late in the campaign. Simply put, Southampton should look to axe Hughes as soon as they possibly can.
That’s where Monk comes in. It’s easy to forget that, while in charge of Swansea, the 39-year-old won the Premier League Manager Month of the Award and was tipped for big things. Judging him on his last few weeks and months in charge of the Swans may be a tad harsh too, considering the fact that the Liberty Stadium outfit lurched from manager to manager without ever really having a plan at the time.
While Monk’s decision to leave Leeds after a promising maiden campaign for Middlesbrough now looks ill-advised, he’s finding his feet again with Birmingham. Clearly someone who can operate calmly in difficult circumstances and a former Saint to boot, he’d be a very smart replacement for Hughes, who has done little to prove himself in this kind of situation.
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