Southampton in talks with Hughes

With Saints languishing 17th in the Premier League having managed just one win in 17 top-flight matches, the club sacked former Argentina worldwide Mauricio Pellegrino on Monday evening.

Saints are now one place and one point above the relegation zone and realistically need three more wins (they only managed five in 30 games this season under Pellegrino) to stay out of the bottom three.

During his 30-match tenure as Southampton manager, Pellegrino accumulated an overall record of 5 wins, 13 draws, and 12 losses; a record a bit weaker than his predecessor, Claude Puel (12 wins, 10 draws, and 16 losses).

Southampton are hoping to have Pellegrino's successor in place for Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final against Wigan and Press Association Sport understands talks are under way with former Saints player Hughes.

According to both Sky Bet and Oddschecker Mark Hughes is the favourite to be the next Southampton manager.

They had won once in 17 games, with eight matches left this season. The Portuguese coach is available, having lost his job back in January, but will no doubt be conscious of a second successive Premier League relegation, having suffered the dreaded drop with Hull last season.

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"As you know, my period in Southampton has finished".

The latest 3-0 defeat at relegation rivals Newcastle on Saturday proved to be the final straw for the Southampton hierarchy, with the club in danger of being relegated from the top flight for the first time since being promoted in 2012.

Of this season's contrasting fortunes, Pellegrino said: "We have been living a hard season for many reasons".

"For this reason, I would like to say sorry to our fans because we couldn't represent our club properly".

Hughes, who was sacked by Stoke six days into the New Year, made 52 Premier League appearances for Southampton between 1998 and 2000 under Dave Jones then Glenn Hoddle, scoring just two goals before moving on to Everton.

  • Tabitha Byrd