Claude Puel: Southampton manager's future may be decided next week

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Puel rues 'many opportunities' wasted

Claude Puel's future as Southampton boss will be decided at the end of the season, says chairman Ralph Krueger.

Although Saints are looking to secure another top-eight finish, and reached the League Cup final, speculation remains about Puel's role.

Krueger told BBC Radio Solent: "The time for a football analysis is next week, after the season.

"If we, for the fourth season in a row, end up in the top half of the table, that's a good record to build on."

After the 0-0 draw with Manchester United on Wednesday, Puel refused to comment on his future plans.

"I try to stay focused about our last game now," he said.

"After the season we have time to discuss and speak about this, and make a debrief. It's important to focus on our last game."

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Ralph Krueger: Southampton chairman believes club have progressed again this season

Krueger stopped short of saying Puel, 55, was safe in his job, adding that he never commented on football-related decisions.

But he defended the club's progress under the Frenchman, pointing to the club's league position, currently eighth, and defeat by Manchester United in the League Cup final at Wembley.

"As a club, we've taken another step this year in many different ways," Krueger said.

"At the cup final, our fans were on display to the world on a level that I've not seen since I've been in England. We certainly won in the fan category but lost painfully on the pitch.

"But the experience itself gave us a new dimension. The hunger is tremendous to find a way back into Europe."

Investment talks ongoing

Krueger also said fans would need to remain patient while the club negotiated potential investment, with Chinese stadium builder Lander Sports Development linked to a stake in the club's holding company.

"We are still in a process and if that process goes through, it will be in the best interest of the club," he said.

"If nothing changes, and we remain in the present ownership structure, we're going to be fine and strongly positioned moving forwards.

"There will be no changes to our budget because of this shift and we feel comfortable in either direction.

"The fans just need to continue to trust, which they have been doing."

Krueger confirmed there would be no new chief executive to replace Gareth Rogers, with director of football Les Reed joining Krueger and Martin Semmens as part of the club's strategic board, which will oversee a management board led by managing director Toby Steele.

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