Monday, December 3, 2018

Southampton sack Mark Hughes after winning only five games in 27 during his reign

Southampton have sacked Mark Hughes and have begun the search for their fourth manager in just over two years.

Firs-team coach Kelvin Davis will lead the team on Wednesday night against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley, but the club do then hope to move quickly and make an appointment ahead of a critical game on Saturday against Cardiff City.

Hughes will depart following a winless run in the Premier League that stretches 10 matches and has seen them fall into the relegation zone.

Although there were many positives about Saturday’s game against Manchester United, which ended in a 2-2 draw, it was yet another match in which Southampton failed to convert a winning position.

Southampton have won just five out of 27 games under Hughes and, while he did lead them to safety last season, that was largely also a result of how Swansea capitulated in the final months.

The club’s board were sufficiently encouraged by the way Southampton improved in the final weeks of the season to agree a three-year contract with Hughes and they will now face a significant compensation bill.

Since Ronald Koeman left for Everton in 2016, they have also sacked Claude Puel and Mauricio Pellegrino. There was a definite feeling this season, however, that they could not stand back and let results slide. Repeated defensive mistakes were a particular problem and the club are now searching for a manager who they feel is in line with their long-term vision and philosophy. That will not mean appointing a manager like Sam Allardyce or David Moyes, but potentially someone with no experience of Premier League football who fits their model.

A club statement said: “Southampton Football Club can today confirm it has parted company with first team manager Mark Hughes. Assistant first team manager Mark Bowen and assistant first team coach Eddie Niedzwiecki have also left the club.

“We would like to express our thanks to Mark and his staff for all of their efforts during their time at St Mary’s. The search for a new manager to take the club forward is already under way.

First team assistant coach Kelvin Davis will lead the team for Wednesday’s Premier League game against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley.”

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