Southampton have announced this morning that they have parted company with Mark Hughes following the Saints’ 2-2 home draw with Manchester United at the weekend. Hughes leaves the club with them sitting in the Premier League relegation zone with just nine points from their opening 14 games.
Southampton Part Company With Mark Hughes
#SaintsFC can today confirm it has parted company with First Team Manager Mark Hughes.
Full statement: pic.twitter.com/EisJf8c2gb
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) 3 December 2018
Hero to Zero
Hughes saved the side from relegation last season, taking over from Mauricio Pellegrino in March, with the key game being an away fixture against fellow relegation candidates, Swansea. Manolo Gabbiadini‘s late goal moved them three points above the Swans whilst also relegating West Brom.
After completing these heroics, Hughes was rewarded with a three-year contract prior to this season, as were his assistants, Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki. They also made five good-looking signings during the summer, including the loan-to-buy deal of Liverpool’s Danny Ings and young Manchester City goalkeeper Angus Gunn.
This season couldn’t have gone much worse for Southampton, though. They have the fewest wins of any team in the league at this stage; their only win came away at Crystal Palace in September. They also have the third-worst defence in the league, not helped by the 6-1 drubbing away at the Etihad or conceding three away at Liverpool and Fulham.
Former Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores is currently the bookies’ favourite to take over the job but he tops a long list of names that would all go down well at St Mary’s. Brendan Rodgers makes the list despite his continued success up in Scotland, while Martin O’Neill was recently relieved from his position at Republic of Ireland boss and could make a swift return to management.
Also out of work are Slavisa Jokanovic, Leonardo Jardim and Arsene Wenger, although the former Arsenal man says that he wants a job more like a director of football than a team manager.
First-team assistant coach Kelvin Davis will take charge of the Saints’ game at Spurs on Wednesday.