Belfast Telegraph

Hughes pleased by team spirit as Saints avoid a Cup banana skin

Wigan Athletic 0 Southampton 2

By Eleanor Crooks

Mark Hughes believes he has seen important traits in Southampton to take with them into a Premier League relegation battle after his new side defeated Wigan 2-0 to reach the FA Cup semi-finals.

After the League One side dominated the first half, Saints stepped up their level after the break and scored through Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Cedric Soares, while Manolo Gabbiadini also had a penalty brilliantly saved by Christian Walton.

Before Hughes can think about Wembley, he must try to turn around Southampton's form in the league, where they have won just once in the last 17 games and sit two points from safety.

The former Stoke boss said: "This was an important fixture. Clearly our Premier League status is a huge concern to us and we want to retain that and that is a big part of the remit I have.

"Today was a game we could take the maximum we needed in terms of positivity and we've been able to do that. We had to show a lot of the qualities and traits a good team has to show on a regular basis and maybe that hasn't been sustained prior to me coming to the club.

Wigan had claimed three successive Premier League scalps in reaching their third FA Cup quarter-final in six seasons, including Manchester City in the last round.

Given Southampton's struggles, they looked capable of causing another upset but it was not to be and the Latics must now focus solely on their League One promotion bid.

Manager Paul Cook said: "It was a little bit harsh on us but we certainly wish Southampton well in the semi final."

Belfast Telegraph

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