Southampton's Mauricio Pellegrino 'grateful' to former boss Rafa Benitez
By Zinny Boswell
Last Updated: 13/10/17 6:10pm
Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino has revealed he "will always be grateful" to his former manager Rafa Benitez ahead of the meeting between their sides this weekend.
Benitez's Newcastle travel to St Mary's on Sunday to play Southampton as they look to get back to winning ways in the Premier League, live on Sky Sports.
Pellegrino played under Benitez at Valencia and Liverpool, he went on to return to Anfield in 2008 as part of the Spaniard's coaching staff.
And the 46-year-old has hailed the influence Benitez had on him "personally and professionally".
"I will always be grateful to Rafa because he's a good example for me both personally and professionally," Pellegrino told reporters.
"First of all he was a really important team-mate because we were working together in Valencia as a player and after in Liverpool.
"He gave me the opportunity to work in professional football as an assistant (manager). "
Southampton striker Shane Long missed the Republic of Ireland's 1-0 victory over Wales on Monday with a hip injury but Pellegrino confirmed Long would be "ready" for the Newcastle game.
When asked about Long's availability, he said: "I think so. He was training today, he is one-hundred per cent and feeling much better - I think he will be ready."