Belfast Telegraph

Saints are up for the fight: Hughes

By Robert Jones

Southampton boss Mark Hughes believes the club's precarious position will only sharpen the focus of his players.

Saints travel to Leicester five points from Premier League safety with only 15 left to play for, but Hughes insisted: "We are up to the edge and that enables us to have a better focus in my view.

"The situation we're in, we need performances and points.

"I think the message (to the players) is to enjoy the challenge, it's not an easy situation but get out there and show people what you are about.

"I've been really pleased with how the players have reacted to my appointment and I think there's a real determination to retain our Premier League status."

Hughes, meanwhile, has welcomed the Football Association's decision to charge Chelsea's Marcos Alonso with violent conduct following his late tackle on Shane Long during Saturday's Premier League clash at St Mary's, which Southampton lost 3-2 after being 2-0 up.

"I said after the game I thought it needed to be looked at, not really trying to get somebody in trouble, but I just felt it was a bad challenge," said Hughes.

"It has been looked at again and I think there is a quick turnaround on these things so we should hear if there is a suspension put in place. I think it was the right call.

"The decision in my view would have been the boy would have been sent off and the circumstances of the game would have been different."

Belfast Telegraph

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