Mark Hughes perfect for Southampton as chairman reveals ongoing ‘good talks’

Southampton are learning from their relegation battles and are hopeful of keeping Mark Hughes, says chairman Ralph Krueger

Southampton are holding “good conversations” with Mark Hughes, says club chairman Ralph Krueger, who opened up to Sky Sports News on how the manager dragged the club out of an “abyss”.

Hughes replaced Mauricio Pellegrino in March and took eight points from as many games to help Saints avoid relegation on the final day of the season.

With his short-term contract set to expire, the Welshman said on Monday he would love to carry on.

Chairman Krueger told Sky Sports News: “We began conversations after the Swansea game and they continue this week and they are good conversations – that’s all I can say at the moment.

“He came in with his group and they just fit like a glove. They embraced the Southampton culture and our values and they felt aligned immediately and they were just part of the fabric within 10 days – it was crazy.

Mark Hughes was satisfied with his players despite losing to Man City on the last day of the season

“Hopefully we can come together and grow with this.”

Hughes, who played for Southampton from 1998 to 2000, lost his first three league games but took eight points from the next four to all but secure their top-flight status safety going into the season’s finale against Manchester City.

They lost 1-0 to the Premier League champions but it was Swansea who were relegated, leaving Hughes and his inherited Saints players to celebrate.

“It was a season of draws and moments of believing we had turned the corner and then falling back,” Krueger added.

Southampton 0-1 Manchester City

“In February we realised we were in a relegation battle and that was an abyss that was daunting to look at for the first time in my time here.

“In the end, we came together with our fans who had been deservedly critical and then they backed us everywhere.

“Our players came together with our change of coaching with Mark Hughes and our staff stayed calm. The club has huge momentum moving forward now but we might have had a different conversation had we got one goal less than Swansea!

“We got it done. Overall I’m pleased with the finish, very disappointed with the season and extremely hungry to put all the lessons we learned this year into play.”