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Hughes confident he can save Southampton from the drop

The new manager replaces Mauricio Pellegrino.

New Southampton manager Mark Hughes is confident he can make an immediate impact and steer the club away from the threat of relegation.

The Welshman, who made 60 appearances for the Saints, has signed a contract until the end of the season to become the sacked Mauricio Pellegrino’s replacement.

His one target is to secure the 17th-placed club’s top-flight status. Press Association Sport understands he is on a bonus of about £1million to keep the club up.

“First and foremost I think it’s about coming in and maybe being that different voice, that different message from myself and the staff, that will enable the players to recognise and focus on what needs to be done in this key period of the season,” said the former Wales, Stoke, Manchester City, QPR, Fulham and Blackburn boss.

“The objective clearly is to remain in the league and make sure we’re a Premier League club next year.

“That’s where this club needs to be, that’s where it should be, and that’s our intention to make sure it remains there.

“I bring experience of the Premier League. I understand what it takes in this league to win games.

“It’s a challenge I’m excited by. It’s a great opportunity to come back to a club I know well, and a club I’ve got real affinity with, and I couldn’t turn that down.”

Hughes will take his first training session on Thursday as the side prepares for an FA Cup quarter-final at League One high-fliers Wigan.

A statement by Southampton said: “The club is confident that this appointment will allow the complete focus of the manager, players and staff to be on the remaining games of this season.”

Hughes will be joined at St Mary’s by trusted lieutenants Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki in the roles of assistant manager and assistant first team coach respectively alongside existing first team assistant coach Kelvin Davis, head of goalkeeping Dave Watson and head of sports science Alek Gross.

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