Mark Hughes expects Southampton to improve next season

Mark Hughes is confident Southampton will emerge a stronger outfit in the 2018/19 Premier League campaign after avoiding relegation last season.

Hughes was rewarded for keeping Saints in the top flight with a new three-year deal, having taken over from Mauricio Pellegrino in March.

The Welshman won three of his 10 games in charge – including a crucial clash at relegation rivals Swansea in the penultimate match of the campaign, which effectively secured survival at the expense of the Welsh club.

With assistants Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki having also signed long-term deals, Hughes is confident the Saints can march on with confidence.

“We have a group here that is talented, that has real potential and real growth in the group as well, because they are all still young in terms of years.

“They will all benefit from what we all went through last year. I think we will learn from that and be better again this year.”

Hughes, who also enjoyed a spell as a player with the club, has already started to reshape his squad for next season.

Last week Southampton published the club’s retained list, confirming defenders Jeremy Pied and Florin Gardos will leave at the end of their contracts.