(Reuters) – Southampton manager Mark Hughes has signed a new three-year contract after keeping them in the Premier League last season, the south-coast club said on Friday.
The 54-year-old Welshman arrived at his former team in March on a short-term deal until the end of the campaign and was handed the task of rescuing them from the threat of relegation.
He was an unexpected choice in many people’s eyes, having left his previous club Stoke City in a similar predicament, yet Saints picked up two wins and a draw from their final four matches to secure top-flight safety with a 17th place finish.
“Mark and his team had a massive impact from the first day on the players, staff and fans alike, and was able to pull together everyone involved with the club to deliver the results needed,” Southampton said in a statement on their website https://southamptonfc.com/news/2018-05-25/mark-hughes-new-contract-southampton-first-team-manager.
“It is important now, under Mark’s leadership, for everyone to move into the new season with a renewed focus and energy alongside the continued and valuable support of our fans.”
Things had initially looked bleak for Hughes after he began his spell in charge with three straight league defeats, but he managed to steady the ship in the final weeks of the season.
A 2-1 victory over south-coast rivals Bournemouth was followed by a 1-1 draw at Everton before a nervy 1-0 win away to Swansea City effectively sealed their Premier League status, while condemning the Welsh club to the second tier.
Southampton said assistant first team manager Mark Bowen and first team Coach Eddie Niedzwiecki had also signed new deals.
“Mark, Eddie and I are thrilled to have signed long-term contracts with the club. It was the only option we considered, having spent the last eight weeks with the club,” Hughes said.
“Now it is vital that we take the unbelievable support we received from the fans during the last few games into next season,” he added..
“The staff and the players will work hard every day to deliver the success this club deserves, and with everyone pulling together we will achieve our goals.”
(Reporting by Toby Davis; Editing by Ken Ferris)