herald

Thursday 15 November 2018

Hughes: 'Saints have quality'

Mark Hughes. Photo: PA Wire
Mark Hughes. Photo: PA Wire

Mark Hughes was encouraged by the resources at his disposal as he watched Southampton recover from a poor first half to beat Wigan and reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup in his first game in charge.

Saints stepped up their level after the break and scored through Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Cedric Soares, while Manolo Gabbiadini also had a penalty brilliantly saved by Christian Walton.

Before Hughes can think about a Wembley date with Chelsea, he must try to turn around Southampton's form in the league, where they have won just once in the last 17 games and sit two points from safety.

The former Stoke boss said: "This was an important fixture. Clearly our Premier League status is a huge concern to us and we want to retain that and that is a big part of the remit I have.

"Today was a game we could take the maximum we needed in terms of positivity and we've been able to do that. We had to show a lot of the qualities and traits a good team has to show on a regular basis and maybe that hasn't been sustained prior to me coming to the club.

"In the short time I've been with them I have seen good quality, good application and a group of players who have maybe been a little bit hurt by criticism. I think today maybe you saw steps to address that criticism."

Hughes has only been given a contract until the end of the season after replacing Mauricio Pellegrino, and he added: "I'm looking forward to the challenge. It's not going to be easy, it's a short-term deal but it's a good start for everybody. I am excited by the group, I think there's good quality. The raw talent is there."

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