FOOTBALL

Southampton confirm Mark Hughes as new manager

Southampton have confirmed the appointment of Mark Hughes as their new manager on a deal until the end of the season.

The Welshman was sacked by Stoke in January following a poor run of results, but led them to top-half finishes in both 2014/15 and 2015/16.

Hughes also has previous experience managing the likes of Manchester City, Queens Park Rangers and Fulham, among others.

The Saints sit only one point above the relegation zone and they have only won one of their last 18 league fixtures.

Hughes, who had a spell as player at Southampton between 1998-2000, said he is ‘excited by the challenge’.

“It’s a challenge I’m excited by,” said the 58-year-old.

“It’s a great opportunity to come back to a club I know well, and a club I’ve got a 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.”

His first match in charge will be Sunday’s FA Cup Sixth round tie at Wigan Athletic, before league fixtures away to West Ham and Arsenal followed by the visit of reigning champions Chelsea.

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