Mark Hughes has been appointed the new manager of Southampton until the end of the season. The appointment comes just days after the sacking of Mauricio Pellegrino with the Saints struggling for form and deep in the relegation mire.
Hughes arrives after being relieved of his duties as Stoke City manager in January. He had led the Potters to two consecutive ninth-place finishes in the Premier League between 2015 and 2017 but saw things slip in the last campaign as they ended in 13th. The board elected to keep him on, but after a less than impressive start to this season, Hughes was sacked following the shock FA Cup exit to Coventry City.
Southampton are another team that have surprised everybody this season, but for all the wrong reasons. The Saints currently lie 17th in the Premier League, a point and a place above Crystal Palace in the relegation zone.
The decision to part company with Claude Puel at the end of last season after an impressive eighth-place finish surprised many. He was replaced by then Alaves boss Mauricio Pellegrino, but the change never worked out. The Saints have struggled for consistent form all season and the Argentine’s sacking came off the back of one win in their last 17 league games.
Speaking of his appointment, Hughes said:
“It’s a challenge I’m excited by. It’s a great opportunity to come back to a club I know well, and a club I’ve got real affinity with, and I couldn’t turn that down.
“I bring experience of the Premier League. I understand what it takes in this league to win games. But first and foremost I think it’s about coming in and maybe being that different voice, that different message from myself and the staff, that will enable the players to recognise and focus on what needs to be done in this key period of the season.”
Hughes’ first league game in charge will be a visit to West Ham on March 31st.
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