Mark Hughes Expects Much Improved 2018/19 Campaign for Saints After Last Season’s Relegation Battle

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Despite finishing just three points above the relegation zone last season, Mark Hughes is confident that he can inspire Southampton to a much more successful 2018/19 Premier League campaign.

Hughes was appointed Southampton manager in March to replace the outgoing Mauricio Pellegrino. The Welshman led the south-coast side to three wins in the ten games he was in charge, which proved sufficient to secure the Saints’ Premier League safety. 

The improvement in Southampton’s performances under Hughes was enough to convince the board that the former Stoke manager was worthy of a new three-year contract at St Mary’s, and Hughes has spoken in public for the first time since his appointment as the long-term boss. 

In a video on Southampton’s official Twitter feed, Hughes spoke of his hopes for next season, and is confident that the threat of relegation was enough to motivate his squad ahead of the new Premier League campaign. 

“We are really looking forward to the new season now and it is about building straight from the off, making sure we are ready to go, hit the ground running, all the old cliches – but they all apply,” Hughes said. 

“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.”

Despite being confident in the squad already at his disposal, Hughes will look to strengthen further in the summer transfer window. The Saints have already been linked with a move for Everton’s Ademola Lookman, while he may look to reunite with Xherdan Shaqiri after it was reported that the Stoke City winger has a release clause of just £12m built into his contract. 

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