Another week and another defeat for Southampton in the EFL Cup tie against Leicester City in midweek, following on from defeat to Fulham last weekend. A new weekend approaches and we welcome Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United squad to St Mary’s Stadium and that’s not an easy game at the best of times, let alone with our form.
With mounting pressure on manager Mark Hughes he has again come out fighting as he met with the media ahead of the game and he insisted to Sky Sports that replacement and sack rumours were ‘water off a duck’s back’ to him and you have to accept and deal with speculation in the game.
He is of course right when it comes to tabloid speculation and managers do need thick skins, especially in today’s modern game but there will be Saints fans out there who were wishing that Hughes appeared to put as much effort into helping us turn around our form – eight points in 13 Premier League games and no wins on home soil – as he does digging in over his future.
“I think that is where the experience comes in, because it’s water off a duck’s back if I am honest. I know how this game works, the reality is if people summarise that a manager is under pressure then low and behold every sports agency in the country will put forward clients. Debate, try and get in contact with the powers at be and say ‘listen this is the right guy if you are thinking of making a change’. That’s what happens. I understand that, it’s not a problem, its people doing their business but it’s when that is a little bit too obvious, when people are setting the agenda for themselves, to benefit themselves. That is when I rile against it if I am honest.”
Again, he has a point about agendas and the like and he did turn the conversation back to our lack of results and what we need to do to turn things around but with every passing result it’s turning into the Mark Hughes show and Southampton’s dramatic fall from grace is being overshadowed.