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There are occasions in life in which it is clear you've taken a wrong turn. At that moment a decision has to be made. You either stubbornly press on and hope that everything will work out or you accept your mistake and make a change.

That was the situation Southampton were presented with this summer. From the outside looking in, Claude Puel had done a more than respectable job during his first campaign at St Mary's.

An eighth place finish in the Premier League and an EFL Cup final appearance shouldn't be sniffed at, Saints fans were constantly told by pundits and so-called experts.

But something wasn't quite right and the club's board recognised that. Perhaps aware they were about to wander deeper down the wrong path, Southampton parted company with Puel earlier this week.

So the search is on. Mauricio Pellegrino are the frontrunners and are expected to be interviewed this week.

Whoever is given the job will only have a few days to prepare for pre-season. Southampton's players are expected back on June 29 for fitness training. So there is a lot of work to be done in a short space of time.

We have identified five key issues Puel's successor must solve before the 2017/18 campaign gets under way.

Rediscover Home Comforts

During the 2015/16 campaign Southampton had the sixth best home record in the Premier League. They won 11 games, drew three and lost just five. The Saints also scored 39 goals, a figure that was only bettered by Manchester City.

Going to St Mary's was an enjoyable experience with fans virtually guaranteed attractive, attacking and winning football. Puel's arrival changed all that.

5 Problems Southampton's Next Boss Must Solve

Last season Southampton won just six games at home – the joint fourth worst record in the top flight. And, more damningly, they scored just 17 goals, an average of just 0.89 per game.

Supporters can put up with many things but paying to watch uninspiring football isn't one of them. It's why the Saints' next manager must make sure coming to St Mary's every other weekend is enjoyable.

The easiest way to do that is by winning games. But if Southampton play on the front foot, with intent and attacking verve, then the occasional defeat will be graciously accepted.

Re-establish Dressing Room Harmony

When Puel was appointed the majority of English football fans wouldn't have known much about the Frenchman.

That would've been no different for many in the Southampton squad. He was somewhat of an unknown and that immediately makes it harder to command respect from every member of the dressing room.

The man Puel replaced, Ronald Koeman was a former Barcelona defender who had coached the likes of Ajax, Benfica, PSV and Valencia. Puel's entire playing career was spent with Monaco and he had only coached in France.

Claude Puel, Manager of Southampton

Rightly or wrongly, Puel was going to have to earn respect, and that didn't happen. Leaving club captain Jose Fonte out of Europa League games didn't help while his team selection often perplexed.

So when Puel's departure was announced, few tears are likely to have been shed.

Whoever takes the St Mary's hot-seat must get the squad onside immediately. De Boer, given his decorated playing career with Barcelona and Ajax, would command respect.

Pellegrino, meanwhile, was part of the Valencia side who clinched two LaLiga titles and triumphed in the UEFA Cup.

And his achievements with Alaves last season – he guided the club to ninth in LaLiga and reached the Copa del Rey final – are proof his coaching methods are effective.

Identify van Dijk replacement

No player has filled more newspaper column inches than Virgil van Dijk this summer. And yet, he remains a Southampton player.

For how long remains to be seen. You expect, eventually, one of Manchester City, Chelsea or even Liverpool will get their act together, meet Southampton's valuation and the centre-back will move on.

The next Saints boss then has a gaping hole to fill. van Dijk is a fine defender, one of the best in the Premier League. Finding a replacement won't be easy.

Looking from within is an option. Jack Stephens' development after coming into the side in January was rapid and he appears ready to be first-choice next season.

Long serving Maya Yoshida partnered Stephens during the second half of the campaign and was praised by the young Englishman for helping him settle into the starting XI.

But there's little doubt the Saints could purchase an upgrade on Yoshida this summer. And, with an estimated £60million fee for van Dijk incoming, it may be an option the next Southampton boss takes.

Solving A Problem Like Boufal

Southampton worked very hard to get a deal for Sofiane Boufal done last summer.

Premier League rivals Watford thought they'd secured the signing of the mercurial Moroccan until the Saints made a late move to bring him to St Mary's from Lille.

However, after a throughly underwhelming first campaign on the south coast, Southampton may be wondering if Boufal was worth the hassle. He scored just twice and registered just one assist. Considering the 23-year-old's talent, those figures are awful.

The Saints next boss has a tricky decision to make. Either he places his faith in Boufal or he decides to move the winger on.

The latter might be the easier option but Boufal has the ability to shine for Southampton. In his final season with Lille, he scored 11 goals in Ligue 1 matches and created a four further goals for his team-mates.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1417CiH0SCg

And no Southampton player completed more dibbles per game in the Premier League (3) than Boufal last season.

His decision making needs work and his confidence rebuilding, but if a coach can unlock Boufal's immense potential then Southampton would have a gem on their hands.

Taking The Goalscoring Expectation Off Gabbiadini

Scoring goals was an issue for Southampton last season, so much so that Nathan Redmond's tally of eight made him the club's leading marksman.

The arrival of Manolo Gabbiadini from Napoli in January briefly ignited the Saints attack, he scored six goals in his first five games, but a groin injury forced the Italian to miss three matches in April.

When he returned, defenders has wised up. Gabbiadini was a marked man and was given special attention. He failed to score in the last seven games of the campaign.

Charlie Austin's return to fitness may take some of the pressure off Gabbiadini but Southampton could do with another mobile striker to freshen up their attack, especially as Shane Long, who scored just three Premier League goals last season, could depart this summer.

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