Hughes slams woeful Southampton after West Ham defeat
Mark Hughes slammed Southampton's inept performance against West Ham as their Premier League survival chances took a huge blow in a 3-0 defeat at London Stadium.
With all the focus on West Ham's reaction to the ugly scenes during their previous loss to Burnley, Southampton went into the clash on a high after Hughes masterminded an FA Cup victory over Wigan Athletic in his first game in charge.
Replicating that in the league proved a step too far, though, as West Ham tore through the Southampton defence in the opening 45 minutes.
Joao Mario and a double from Marko Arnautovic put the game beyond Southampton before the break, and left Hughes frustrated at another disappointing showing from the Saints.
"We were poor," he admitted. "We didn't really give West Ham a game.
"The opening period of any game is key, you have to understand as the away team that the home side is going to come flying out of the blocks and you have to be ready and ready to go yourself.
"It wasn't what we anticipated in terms of a performance and not the level that will enable you to win game at this level unfortunately.
"We conceded three very poor goals in fairness, [and] at times [made] catastrophic errors which have been prevalent for quite some time which is why we find ourselves in this situation unfortunately.
"Clearly we need to do something about it, we need to address it, we need to understand why it is happening and be better next time out."
Southampton - who welcomed back Charlie Austin - failed to register a shot on target across the 90 minutes, and Hughes knows rectifying that is his top priority heading into the final seven games of the campaign.
"We have to find a way to score goals," he added. "If you can't get a foothold in the game by working hard and winning the right to play you are not going to create chances.
"That is the focus this week. We have to understand that we are in a situation of our own making.
"We have to be better next time out. The games ahead are going to test us greatly, we have to be ready and we have to have answers.
"From my point of view it was a good learning experience. It's OK training well but you have to be able to translate that onto the pitch on a Saturday afternoon. Today we couldn't do that."