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Mark Hughes Passes The First Test
Tuesday, 20th Mar 2018 10:05

Saints fans were sceptical when Mark Hughes name was first mentioned as a replacement for Mauricio Pellegrino, but those at Wigan felt he passed the first test.

It is fair to say that many were not over excited when Mark ughes was linked to the Saints job, but up at Wigan on Sunday there was an air of confidence in the new manager that has not been there in the last two appointments.

It was possibly a combination of a few things, being an ex player helped, even though his time here was almost 20 years ago and there would be no one at the club in a senior position who he would have known back then, it was just felt he would have empathy.

Also the fact that Hughes has a track record in the Premier league stretching back 14 years over a number of clubs and he had a reputation for being a no nonsense manager who knows how he wants to set up his sides and how he wants them to play seems t most Saints supporters to be exactly what the club needs at this juncture.

At Wigan it was never going to be easy, it was a horrible pitch, freezing cold, swirling wind and the opposition were fired up, after the season we have had o far, no one was going to be able to comein and just click their fingers and make everything all right straight away, but Hughes appears to have prepared his team well, although they were not great in the first half there was a fight about them that mean't that Wigan were kept at bay.

There was a new desire and intensity in the side, indeed according to Pierre Emile Hojbjerg Hughes instructed the team to prioritise "mentality, desire and hard work" and that certainly looked the case.

In the second half Saints having survived the early bluster of Wigan then started to impose themselves on the game and although things weren't perfect you could see something had changed in the mindset of the team, the confidence was starting to return and although Wigan will claim that they really didn't deserve to lose, the reality was that in the second half only poor finishing mean't that we did not put the game to be till late.

So Mark Hughes has passed his first test with the Saints fans and there is a perception that he is the right man for the job at least for the rest of the season, he says the right things, he know what is needed and he shows passion for the job.

So he is uniting the fan base again in a way that neither of his two predecessors did and that is going to be crucial in the run in, his mere presence means that the toxic atmosphere has gone, add to that the fact that he wil have Charlie Austin returning to the fold after three months out injured and he will have a squad more than capable of pulling clear in the relegation battle.

Indeed Saints can time this just right, they are putting everything in place as the season ends, the impact of a new manager at Crystal Palace, Stoke and West Ham for instance has now diminshed, but for us it is just starting and if Hughes can give us that little burst of wins that those clubs had earlier in the season, we should be OK.

So there is still a lot of hard work ahead and tough games, but you feel that in Mark Hughes Saints have the right man to do it, certainly there is an aura about him lacking in both Puel and Pellegrino, but present in Ronald Koeman.

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patred added 10:31 - Mar 20
So there is still a lot of hard work ahead and tough games, but you feel that in Mark Hughes Saints have the right man to do it, certainly there is an aura about him lacking in both Puel and Pellegrino, but present in Ronald Koeman.

skiptonsaint added 10:40 - Mar 20
It just all felt so much more positive amongst the fans and I am sure that transmitted to the players

A good example was the loud signing of Gabbis name after he missed the penalty (and that chance before)

And Redmond looked a different player, one that knew if he tried something and it messed up the fan base were not going to groan and moan. He felt like a new fresh player to the squad at a critical time

Little things but it is going to be decided by small margins and we have a lift and momentum some of our rivals don’t


helpineedsomebody added 10:50 - Mar 20
not for me

1 he has had his go/ not a top 6 manager

2 in the last 6 years we do not play his type of football nor do we have the footballers at the club that play like england/championship football .
we play through the middle like good top ten clubs , on sunday the back four just booted the ball as hard as they could no balls played through our midefied . but i do understand it was a typical fa cup game . but it was very INTERESTING to see cedric playing in the middle with his pace it lifted the whole team it also kept the back four on the offensive / not defensive .

3 mark thats a big plus for you & huge for the team, looking forward to the westham game now.


DorsetIan added 11:07 - Mar 20
He wasn't my pick, but I have been impressed by his quiet confidence, and looking forward with a lot more optimism than before.

Redmond is definitely improving. His cross to Boufal against Stoke and now his through ball to Gabbiadini both outstanding.

And so great to see balls going forward instead of sideways, and players actually looking to play in the forwards!

Long way to go still, but I think we've got the stomach for the fight now...

NZsaint added 11:42 - Mar 20
Like his attitude,especially towards the fans..something has changed for the better you can feel that little bit of optimism in the air the fog his cleaning.coys

Sanguin added 11:56 - Mar 20
I don’t think Redmond is any better or worse than he’s ever been. I just think that the fans are groaning less when he loses the ball; can you imagine what hearing 10,000 people groan every time you lose the ball would do to you confidence? Pellegrino gave him a break from the team and started reintroducing him away from home and against weaker opposition where he’s more likely to beat his man. Hopefully the fans will be more forgiving now when he fails to take the ball past better quality defenders. We really need him at his best and we need our players to try and beat their man and create chances rather than passing the ball backwards and keeping possession.

davepid added 12:21 - Mar 20
What’s the odds on us going to Wembley 5 times in three seasons. Elf last year, semis and final this season, the Charity Shield in August and. - um- the Championship play off final the following May.

bstokesaint added 12:24 - Mar 20
I’m glad we got this one out of the way and Sparky has notched his first win. Does than mean we’ve won more cup games than league names now?! Martin Keown may be a painfully dull commentator to listen to, but he’s right when he said winning is contagious. I felt the same way about us in League 1 and the Championship as I’m sure the Wigan fans felt about their team, that they could beat anyone. We did ride our luck a bit before showing our class. Shame Gabbi missed another penalty (albeit not a bad one) but it’s becoming a bit of a bad joke now. We’ve been spoilt over the years with the likes of Le Tiss, Beattie and Lambo and now more often than not we miss. Our current record is appalling. We certainly can’t afford to be doing that in the league. Anyway, we can put the cup behind us now and focus on what must be our biggest league game in a long, long time. If we can win that one then Hughes really will get some fans throwing their weight behind him. I don’t even want to imagine what will happen if we lose.

SanMarco added 12:29 - Mar 20
I wish we had Wet Spam this w/e. Build on the momentum. The big question for Hughes is what he does about Carrillo. Our attacking players are still not scoring. Tadic, Gabby and Long have maybe got one each since New Year. I believe that given a run in the side Gabby will deliver but I really am not sure about Carrillo. I wonder if Austin's return, if and when it happens, may decide our fate. Still, we feel better than we did 10 days ago and that is a start. I am already getting nervous about the Wet Spam game...

1970 added 12:42 - Mar 20
This was our best game in ages, as mentioned there was a very different atmosphere from the fans all very positive, I don't think Hughes is our man though he is not a no nonsense manager just read some of his ex-players statements especially Mark Schwarzer who stated he thought it was a very strange appointment but who cares if he does well and we all want him to,i thought gabbis confidence was shot until he stepped up for the pen he's got some balls but as well as people think redmon played he was always too keen to go backwards for me,he was forced to play the pass to cedric at the end because no-one was behind him may be now that will give him some confidence, hats off to all the fans that went they must of been freezing, is it right we have qualified for Europe now as whoever finishes 7th get league cup qualification any ideas Nick? coyr

LordDZLucan added 13:11 - Mar 20
Pellegrino and Puel were both hamstrung by their inability to communicate and demonstrate affinity with the fans and commentators/pundits. One can only assume that there was a similar problem between them and the players. That was clearly partly to do with their poor grasp of English but was also down to their quiet personalities. Mark Hughes is not the most extrovert of characters but he clearly won't be making the same mistakes as his predecessors. His fist pumping and going onto the pitch at the end of the game to salute the fans was exactly what was needed. He was saying 'We're all in this together' in a way that Pellegrino and Puel failed to do at any point in their tenures.

OhBlox added 13:23 - Mar 20
@1970 - no all Europa league places not gained through winning a cup now go back to the league, so winning the FA cup is just about the only practical route back into Europe next season.

REEDYREEDOREEDZ added 13:51 - Mar 20
That was a great result against Wigan under the circumstances. The pitch and the wind was terrible and it gave Wigan a big advantage. They were well up for it and after beating City you could see thier confidence.
In the first half Saints pumped a lot of balls forward (I wonder if this was instructed by Hughes because of the state of the pitch) and Carrillo won none of them. In the second half Saints got thier foot on the ball and started to play a bit. It was obvious that Hughes had changed it at half time; this is something that Pellegrino had failed to do in a postive way all season.
Carrillo offered us absolutely nothing and looks a complete waste of money. At half time I was calling for Long or Sims to come on because at least thier pace would offer something. At the moment Sam Gallagher looks like a better player than Carrillo, its a bit of joke really. I would seriously doubt that he's worth a start v West Ham. We needed a target man but Carrillo doesn't look that strong or that good in the air. £19m!!??! I can only imagine Saints failed to land thier preferred targets in January, they got desperate and Carrillo was way down the list. Maybe Pellegrino swayed thier decision? Or maybe Reed's gone senile.

We won in difficult conditions, it gives us something to build on, and now its on to the Olympic Stadium for the biggest game of the season v West Ham. Imagine the uproar if we took the lead! Go 2-0 up and the match will end up being abandoned!

landerwal added 13:59 - Mar 20
The change of attitude in the team bought about by Hughes was shown by the second goal. Cedric in left midfield to receive a pass and score. A player out of position. It would never have happened under MP or Puel and never did with the rigid possession football we were playing. It is perhaps a good thing that the appointment of Hughes means that there is perhaps less pressure and expectation upon him, than a high profile, 3/4 year contracted, foreign manager would have had. After all no one, including many "knowledgeable" professional pundits expected the relatively unknown Potchetino to make an impact at Saints.

BaselSaint added 15:35 - Mar 20
Just to see 2 goals for a change was an uplifting experience.

Colburn added 17:29 - Mar 20
Agree with most views here, just think Carillo should be given a break. He hasn’t missed a gilt edged chance yet and it can’t have been easy moving countries joining a team rock bottom in confidence etc. Let’s see what happens when the team does actually provide him with a proper chance to score. After all, nobody is hammering Gabbi for missing 2 huge chances.. top performance second half in awful conditions, looked like we have rekindled our spirit a bit! Up the Saints!!

Jesus_02 added 17:32 - Mar 20
4.5 years at any Premiership team is a long time these days. Not knocking Stoke, they made a change because they felt it was needed but they are in a worse position now .

Bottom line is we are I a better position than with MP.

Even if we beat WH (which I am fare more confident we will) to get to 40pts we will also need to beat Leicester , Everton and B 'mouth unless we get a result against are probably going to need a result against Arsenal, Chelsea or Man City.

B'mouth will be up for it, and Leicester will be 0-0 if Puel has his way

Its going to be tight!!

halftimeorange added 18:24 - Mar 20
I don't have much to add other than an EPL side should be able to pass more accurately than Saints did for much of the game. I lost count of the number of times the ball was given away and to opposition players in yards of space. Having said that, heads didn't drop after an awful first half and several players put in a decent shift. Like others, I frankly don't know what Carrillo brings to the team and there isn't a lot of time to experiment up front. I still think that McCarthy holds a big key to our fate.

landsdownsaint added 18:28 - Mar 20
There’s something right about Hughes & Saints , he actually looks happy to be here .. then again he’s supposedly got 2 million reasons to be happy at Saints , the right appointment for me .

REEDYREEDOREEDZ added 20:21 - Mar 20
Jesus02 - 37 points should be enough to stay up this year, so 3 wins (or 2 wins and 3 draws) needed. The West Ham game is massive. Win and you can really see us getting to 37 points. Lose and then suddenly it's very very difficult to see how we'll get the required points. We really don't want to go into that final game v City needing a win.

SaintBrock added 09:44 - Mar 21
The chances are McCarthy will score before Carrillo or Gabbiadini.

We need 3 wins, simples. We ain't going to get them, simples!

Sorry lads but this season is over for us, hope is eternal but reality has bitten. Lots of talk about beating the Hammers but where are the other two wins coming from?

underweststand added 15:52 - Mar 21
Not the Pochettino hard-pressing game, but good to see a more attacking formation.

Feel sorry for Gabbiadini - things going from bad to worse. OK it was a good save from the keeper for his penalty miss, but he really needs to get in the goals and soon as we don't have many matches left to give him more game time..

Stephens and Hoedt looking better as Cbs, and a goal from Hojbjerg who also needed to make a mark. Special praise for Cedric, whose been having a last minute shot on goal in almost every game this season, but making a 100 yard run out of defence to take Redmond's pass in the 91st minute and go onto score showed great energy levels.

If we can maintain this attacking mode then we may stay up and win the Cup.
COMMENT . A real laugh at Joey Barton's statement that Hughes was.... a bad manager with no personal skills ! .. LOL...(look who's talking Joey ).

Just go ahead with more of the same Mark - and do whatever it takes.

BoondockSaint added 21:44 - Mar 21
Thanks underweststand for the quote from the famous French philosopher Joey Barton! Best laugh I've had today!

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