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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Swansea hotel switch motivated Southampton, says Mark Hughes

A day before the game, Southampton, who beat their relegation rivals 1-0 on Tuesday, had been forced to swap hotels from one near the stadium to another near Cardiff due to the threat of a virus

Southampton manager Mark Hughes and striker Charlie Austin celebrate after the 1-0 victory over Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium. Rebecca Naden / Reuters
Southampton manager Mark Hughes and striker Charlie Austin celebrate after the 1-0 victory over Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium. Rebecca Naden / Reuters

Southampton manager Mark Hughes said the last-minute cancellation of a hotel booking ahead of their Premier League survival battle against Swansea City on Tuesday had given the team extra motivation to win at the Liberty Stadium.

Substitute Manolo Gabbiadini's scrappy goal after 72 minutes settled a tense clash in South Wales that helped Southampton take a big step towards top-flight safety.

A day before the game, Southampton had been forced to swap hotels from one near the stadium to another near Cardiff due to the threat of a virus.

"I'm not for one minute suggesting that Swansea City had anything to with that," Hughes said.

"I think it may be overzealous Swansea fans in a position to affect our hotel booking, maybe. But you can use those things to your benefit and use them as a motivating factor."

Hughes had been handed the task of rescuing the south-coast club from the threat of relegation when he was appointed in March and was a strange choice in many people's eyes, having left his former team in a similar predicament.

Yet, his mission was accomplished at the Liberty Stadium when a second-half goal from Gabbiadini secured a 1-0 victory over relegation rivals Swansea that moved the Saints three points clear of the drop zone.

With goal difference handing Southampton a comfortable cushion heading into their final match of the season at home to champions Manchester City, it would take a remarkable turnaround for them to fall out of the top flight.

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