Southampton turn to Hughes to save their season

Southampton have confirmed Mark Hughes as the replacement for Mauricio Pellegrino, who was sacked earlier this week.

Pellegrino and the Saints parted company on Monday following a run of one win in 17 league outings, which has left the club hovering just one place and one point above the bottom three.

Confirmation of Hughes' arrival came late on Wednesday, the Welshman taking charge of his sixth Premier League side after previous spells with Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Fulham, QPR and Stoke City.

Hughes was sacked by Stoke in January, following a shock FA Cup third-round exit to fourth-tier Coventry City, but he will have another chance in the competition with Southampton due to visit Wigan Athletic - conquerors of Pep Guardiola's City - in Sunday's quarter-final.

The 54-year-old returns to the club with whom he spent the best part of two seasons as a player towards the latter end of his career, between 1998 and 2000.

"It's a challenge I'm excited by," Hughes said. "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.

"The objective clearly is to remain in the league and make sure we're a Premier League club next year. That's where this club needs to be, that's where it should be and that's our intention to make sure it remains there."

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