Friday, May 24, 2019

Southampton right to sack Mark Hughes

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 4 Dec 2018

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Last week I wrote an editorial about how Southampton’s Mark Hughes is a mediocre boss. Well, it turns out that the Saints hierarchy do not think too highly of him either after firing the Welshman on Monday. While football clubs are sometimes harsh in dispensing with bosses, the sacking of Hughes was understandable. The former Stoke boss had been at the club for just 18 months.

Southampton were dire under Hughes

Southampton under Mark Hughes were absolutely dire to watch. I am sure most Saints fans would agree that the football played under the Welshman was poor and so were the results. Fans can sometimes accept a less easy on the eye approach if it is winning games, but the Saints were not getting results.

That assessment is not only on the current campaign but also on last season when the team from the south coast narrowly avoided relegation. Southampton’s hierarchy are pretty patient and loyal to their bosses, so they gave Hughes time to turn things around.

The problem was Hughes did not have the necessary managerial tools to get results. In fact, Southampton have now won just three of their last 22 games in the Premier League, which is a poor record by any teams standards.

For too long, Hughes has been living on his reputation as a player. He will return to management at some point, hopefully not in the Premier League, as there are many bright young coaches who deserve a chance at managing in the English top-flight.

A better chance of avoiding the drop now

Southampton are currently 18th place in the Premier League, one position worse off than they were last March when Hughes took the job. However, there is still time for a new boss to come in and save the Saints from relegation. The team from the south coast are now odds of 10/3 to suffer relegation this season.

The time was right for the clubs hierarchy to act, although sacking Hughes a few weeks ago may have saved the fans from a lot of boredom. The team struggled to wins games under Hughes, but the appointment of a new boss, with new ideas, could be enough to lift the players. There are decent quality players in the Southampton squad, but they are not performing.

As I have stated previously, the Saints seem to struggle to score goals. That is going to be the main problem for the new boss coming into the club. If the new boss can solve that problem, then the team can move up the table in no time.

Ralph Hasenhuttl the favourite for the job

According to Sky Sports, former RB Leipzig boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has already agreed a three-year deal to become the Saints next head coach. The highly-rated Austrian is now the favourite for the job, with bosses like David Moyes, Quique Sanchez Flores and Nigel Pearson.

The appointment of Hasenhuttl could be a shrewd one. The style of football should certainly improve under the highly-rated Austrian boss, who likes to play possession-based, attacking football.

Hasenhuttl did a superb job at Leipzig, taking the relatively new franchise to second place in the Bundesliga and into the Champions League for the first time. The 51-year-old is regarded as one of the best up and coming coaches in European football.

Securing the services of the Austrian boss could prove to be a real coup for the club from the south coast. Whatever happens in the future, it looks like Southampton have made the right decision to part ways with Hughes. The Saints were treading water and something needed to be done about the situation. Maybe the team from the south coast can now look forward to a slightly brighter future on the pitch.

Were Southampton right to sack Mark Hughes?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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