January 27, 2018 / 10:05 AM / a year ago

Pellegrino backs Carrillo to fire Southampton to safety

Soccer Football - Premier League - Southampton vs Tottenham Hotspur - St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Britain - January 21, 2018 Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino and Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino REUTERS/David Klein

(Reuters) - Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino believes new signing Guido Carrillo’s Champions League experience with French club AS Monaco can help rejuvenate the club’s attack and guide them towards Premier League safety.

Southampton, who are 18th in the Premier League standings, signed the Argentine forward from the French side on Thursday for a reported club record fee of about 19 million pounds ($26.94 million).

Carrillo, 26, spent two-and-a-half years at Monaco, helping them win the French title and reach the Champions League semi-finals last season.

“I think that the main thing he has been working in Monaco more than two years in the top team, playing Champions League, high level,” Pellegrino said ahead of Southampton’s FA Cup fourth round clash against Watford.

The south coast club have struggled up front with 24 goals in as many league games but Pellegrino, who has worked with Carrillo during their time at Argentina’s Estudiantes in 2015, believes his compatriot offers solutions similar to injured striker Charlie Austin.

Austin, who has six goals for Southampton, was ruled out for two months or more after a suspected hamstring tear in last month’s 1-1 Premier League draw with Huddersfield Town.

“He’s a profile of player who can replace in this moment the profile of Charlie. A big body, can hold the ball, good in the air and can be good to help us to be stronger,” Pellegrino said.

Southampton, who are a point from safety, return to Premier League action against Brighton and Hove Albion on Feb. 1.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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