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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Mark Hughes pays price for Southampton's terrible start to season

Welshman sacked after only one win 14 Premier League games leaves south-coast club in 19th place

Mark Hughes had won only one of 14 Premier League matches this season in charge of Southampton before being sacked on Monday. Reuters
Mark Hughes had won only one of 14 Premier League matches this season in charge of Southampton before being sacked on Monday. Reuters

Mark Hughes has been sacked as manager of Southampton following the club's poor start to the season that sees them mired in relegation trouble.

The Premier League strugglers announced on Monday that the 55-year-old Welshman had left the club after winning just one of their 14 league matches so far this season to leave them in 18th place.

"We would like to express our thanks to Mark and his staff for all of their efforts during their time at St Mary's," a statement read.

"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."

Hughes arrived at his former club in March on a short-term contract and helped the south-coast club narrowly avoid the drop last season by finishing 17th in the table. He also led them to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, where they eventually lost to eventual winners Chelsea.

Hughes was rewarded with a three-year contract in May but Saturday's 2-2 draw at home to Manchester United, in which the Saints threw let slip a two-goal lead, extended their winless run to 10 games.

Hughes's assistant Mark Bowen and first-team coach Eddie Niedzwiecki have also left the club.

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In eight months at Southampton, former Wales, Manchester City and Stoke City manager Hughes managed only five victories in 27 games in all competitions.

Their only league win this season came against Crystal Palace in September.

Before Saturday's draw with United, Southampton had lost 3-2 at fellow relegation-threatened side Fulham and had been knocked out of the League Cup by Leicester City on penalties.

Southampton said they had begun the search for a new manager. Former Swansea City, Leicester and Fiorentina manager Paulo Sousa is the early favourite to replace Hughes with the Portuguese having left Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian in the summer. Salvisa Jokanovic and Leonardo Jardim, who recently lost their respective jobs at Fulham and Monaco, could also come under consideration.

Hughes's successor is set to be the club's fourth manager in two years. Since Ronald Koeman left to join Everton in 2016 Southampton have also fired Claude Puel and Mauricio Pellegrino.

Davis, a former goalkeeper who played over 300 times for the club, will lead them in Wednesday's match against fifth-placed Tottenham, who will be looking to bounce back from Sunday's North London derby defeat at the hands of Arsenal.

Updated: December 3, 2018 03:44 PM

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