We’ve picked out five facts about Southampton’s new manager Claude Puel that you may not have known.
1. France and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry credits Puel for the way in which he developed his famous finishing technique. While working alongside Puel at AS Monaco, Henry was made to rehearse the same sequence to shooting over and over again. After netting a goal against Ireland in Dublin to all but seal France’s spot at the 2006 World Cup, Henry said; “I want to dedicate it to Claude Puel.”
2. With Saints set for their maiden UEFA Europa League group stage campaign, Puel’s European experience could well come in handy. The Frenchman has overseen 82 European games as a manager, winning 34 of those and drawing 25.
3. Puel shares something in common with Saints legend Matt Le Tissier. The former defensive midfielder spent his entire playing career with AS Monaco – a spell spanning 17 seasons. Le Tissier did the same at Saints, spending 16 years with the club.
4. During his time in France, Puel has handed senior debuts to a number of high-profile players. The likes of Eden Hazard, Eric Abidal, Hugo Lloris, Yohan Cabaye and Alexandre Lacazette have all benefited from Puel’s willingness to give youth a chance.
5. Puel enjoyed instant success as a manager. After joining Monaco in January 1999, he guided the club to the Ligue 1 title in his first full season. Their success in 2000 was the last time Monaco won the first division title in France.