Manager Mark Hughes has begun his preparations for the coming 2018/19 Premier League season and he’s certainly hoping to not be battling relegation once more over the coming year.
With fixture release day nearing and the transfer window already open for the coming campaign, plenty of plans are being made and decisions taken on the makeup of the squad for the coming season and Hughes is clearly relishing the battle ahead given he now has a full pre-season schedule that will soon be under his belt to get his wants and desires over to the team.
Having penned his new three-year deal the other week to secure his future at St Mary’s, having played his part in guiding us to survival in 2017/18, the Welshman is looking for the club to kick on once again and work their way back up the table properly.
Speaking to saintsfc this week, he explained.
“I’m delighted. With the way the season went, in the end, there was a great feeling and clearly, we needed to get the job done. It was a short-term deal when I came in and I understood that totally. I just think what happened and how we went about our business it was clear there was a lot of relief at the club and a realisation that we’d come together, myself and my staff that I brought in, the players with the fans and everybody.”
With that relief and a renewed sense of optimism, he went on to say that extending his deal and looking to push on further just simply ‘made sense’ and he repeated his claim that he felt the players we had here should certainly not be battling relegation.
With pre-season plans themselves taking shape.
That’s only one element he’s dealing with in terms of preparations for the new campaign, and Hughes went on to speak about the style of play he wants from us moving forward. With a defensive, possession-based approach in recent years, that’s not really Hughes’ bag although he’s not against being sensible in an approach.
He does, however, want to get us back to the more front foot approach in games.
“That’s how I want my teams to play. I’ve always wanted my teams to be on the front foot and be able to dictate to the opposition they’re up against irrespective of what level people perceive them to be.”
Hughes went on to explain that he felt a team who came out and approached a match positively would always have a psychological effect on their opponents, especially if you could put them on the backfoot instantly and disrupt their own game management plans for matches.
But it’s about the understanding and having the fundamentals right if you wanted to achieve that. Confidence is clearly one of those fundamentals and that was in short supply last year.
Fans are sceptical as it’s not the first time a manager has intimated at one thing, then done the polar opposite but if our signings are made on the front foot, fans expect the football will naturally follow.
Pellegrino literally said the same thing lol
— a.d.z (@SFC_Adam_) 8 June 2018
— sfcpaul (@sfcpaul100) 8 June 2018
Don't forget the back foot. We need a quality CB leader too!
— sfcpaul (@sfcpaul100) 8 June 2018
Can we be on the front foot with signings?!
— Dan (@dredman86) 8 June 2018
Forward not back has to be the way in a number of ways not just on the pitch. Never thought “sparky” would want to play any other way. Need goals.
— Peter J Armstrong (@peterjarmstrong) 8 June 2018
Last two managers said this, please actually mean it! ????
— Marc ?? (@_ThatGuyMarc) 8 June 2018
Great appointment with a guy who has a genuine passion for Southampton doing well!. Go get Pele from China!…
— Martin Burlingham (@MartinBurlingh1) 8 June 2018