David Moyes insists there must still be honour among managers – despite Mauricio Pochettino’s admission that he was being lined up to replace Nigel Adkins as Southampton boss eight weeks ago.
Everton face the Saints at St Mary’s tomorrow, with the Premier League still reeling from the decision to axe Adkins and replace him with a 40-year-old Argentine who hardly speaks a word of English.
Pochettino did himself no favours by revealing on Friday that he had been told by chairman Nicola Cortese to prepare himself for the job two months ago.
And Moyes, who has had the benefit of Bill Kenwright’s full backing in more than 10 years at Goodison, said: “I would like to think there is still honour among managers.
“I don’t know the reasons behind Nigel’s sacking. I don’t know if anyone outside Southampton knows the reasons.
“But it looks more than a bit harsh from the outside. Was there a fall-out? I don’t know.
“Was there something the chairman wanted to do that he didn’t think was right? Was it more than just the results? I really don’t know.
“In the past, you knew that, as a manager, you would probably get sacked on results.
“But if Nigel was sacked for his results, then that’s got to be harsh.
“After back-to-back promotions, he got his team out of the bottom three and was having a real go at staying in the Premier League.”
He added: “Maybe eight weeks ago, you might have said Southampton were in a difficult position, so maybe he (Pochettino) was just told to keep an eye on the club.
“Since then, though, Southampton have gone on a nice, steady run. Some of the players Nigel signed looked like they were just starting to settle in and maybe Nigel himself was settling in to be a Premier League manager.
“Maybe eight weeks ago, when, apparently, they did start to think about a change of manager, you could perhaps see something happening. But not now.”
Moyes believes that Adkins’ sacking is also a blow for British managers and a consequence of the new money that has arrived in the Premier League over the last decade.
The 49-year-old has never been sacked in 15 years as a manager, working at Preston and Everton.
He said: “I hope it doesn’t have too big an effect on British managers. I would hate to think that people don’t respect British managers because one of the best in the world is British.
“A lot of time and effort goes into being a coach or a manager. People think it’s a great job and it is really well paid. But you put in years on the Pro-licence. You spend years coaching, getting your badges.
“When you’re doing OK, most people expect to stay in work. From a distance, Nigel looked as if he deserved to stay in his job.”
Moyes added: “Chairmen like Bill Kenwright are a dying breed because they have what I would call an old-fashioned relationship with their manager.
“With the new owners who are coming in now, I wonder whether we’re following a bit more of a foreign system. These people are looking to employ their own people to make decisions, regarding players and how the club is run.
“Bill Kenwright very much allows me to run this club, to make decisions as far as I can make them, and, from that point of view, it’s worked well for Everton.”
Moyes is currently figuring strongly in Chelsea’s deliberations, with his suitability being discussed as the club considers who to appoint when Rafa Benitez’s period as interim manager ends this summer.
Jose Mourinho is also a candidate but there is a growing expectation that he will quit Real Madrid this summer to succeed Carlo Ancelotti at Paris St-Germain.
Roman Abramovich is believed to be very happy with Benítez, and would like to retain him after the end of this campaign, but he accepts that the appointment cannot happen given the hostility of the club’s supporters to the Spaniard.
Despite what one source said was the “disarray” at Chelsea, Abramovich is pleased with the Benítez even though has conceded that with Chelsea now 13 points behind leaders Manchester United any hopes of winning the Premier League have ended.
“There are still some trophies to win and we will try to win all of them. In terms of the league I don’t think we can do it,” Benítez said ahead of today’s encounter with Arsenal.
“But we have a top side coming this weekend and if we get three points maybe we can be closer. The Capital One Cup is there, the FA Cup is still open and the Europa League is still open.
"I just have to give the team the confidence that we can win against anyone.” Benítez is hoping to succeed Mourinho at Madrid should, as expected, he leaves this summer but there are also strong suggestions that Ancelotti could take that post if he is sacked by PSG.
For Chelsea, Moyes remains an intriguing option. The 49-year-old Scot is out of contract at the end of this season and has already stated that while he does not anticipate any problems over a new deal he will not sign one until the January transfer window closes.
Moyes said he wanted to wait to see whether Everton were able to hold onto their leading players – such as Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines, both of whom have, ironically, interested Chelsea – before he committed beyond the 10 years he has already spent at the club working with limited resources.
If Moyes delays further it opens up the possibility that he could be approached by Chelsea where his disciplined style is admired. If he did take over at Stamford Bridge it would not only be the first time that Abramovich has taken a manager from another Premier League club but the first time he has employed a Briton.
The expectation is that Mourinho will leave Madrid and while he has his supporters within Chelsea, including members of the board, there are a number of hurdles that need to be crossed before he could return to the club – not least the Portuguese having to offer some kind of private apology to Abramovich for the way in which he behaved before he was sacked in September 2007.