Struggling Southampton appoint Hughes as new manager


London (AFP) – Premier League strugglers Southampton have appointed Mark Hughes as their new manager following the sacking of Mauricio Pellegrino, the club announced on Wednesday.

Southampton dismissed Pellegrino on Monday after a run of just one win in 17 matches left the side only a point and one place above the relegation zone with eight games of the season remaining.

“Southampton Football Club can today confirm it has appointed Mark Hughes as its new First Team Manager,” the club said in a statement.

“Hughes has agreed a contract with the club until the end of the season and will take training at the club’s Staplewood Campus for the first time on Thursday.”

Hughes, who has previous top-flight coaching experience at Blackburn, Manchester City, Fulham and QPR, was sacked as Stoke manager in January after four-and-a-half seasons in charge.

“The objective clearly is to remain in the league and make sure we’re a Premier League club next year,” the 54-year-old Hughes said.

“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.”

The former Manchester United, Chelsea and Wales striker spent two seasons at Southampton as a player towards the end of his career.

“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,” he said.

“I bring experience of the Premier League. I understand what it takes in this league to win games.”

His first match in charge will be Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final at third-tier Wigan, the team who dumped out Pep Guardiola’s Man City in the previous round.

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