By 90Min
March 15, 2018

New Southampton manager Mark Hughes is keen to start working with the Saints squad he has inherited from dismissed predecessor Mauricio Pellegrino after claiming that he has actually tried to sign around 'half' of them in the past for other clubs.

Hughes was appointed on a short-term deal until the end of the season on Wednesday and took his first training session on Thursday, before then speaking to the press.

"I know a great deal about them from coming up against Southampton over the years. You get a real understanding of what they're about and the style of play," the new boss is quoted as saying by Southamptonfc.com.

"If I'm honest, I've probably tried to sign half of them but haven't quite got them over the line," the 54-year-old added, although he stopped short of naming names.

"I know a lot of the qualities these players possess, so it's going to be good to get the opportunity to finally work with some of the players I missed out on with previous clubs."

Tony Marshall/GettyImages

Hughes, who himself spent two years with Southampton as a player between 1998 and 2000, was sacked by Stoke earlier this season after four-and-a-half years with the Potters. Prior to that he was in charge of QPR, Fulham, Manchester City and Blackburn in the Premier League.

His first game in charge will see the Saints travel north to face League One side Wigan in the quarter finals of the FA Cup, but his ultimate target is to ensure the club is not relegated from the Premier League after dangerously slipping into a dogfight near the bottom of the table.

"Undoubtedly, we've got good players here. Players that, for whatever reason, have found it more of a struggle this year. We'll get down to the reasons why, but these players have the ability to win games in the Premier League and that's what we intend to do," he said.

"I don't think we need to show any apprehension. We need to go out, express ourselves, show our ability and manage the game. I'm here to get the job done and make sure we're in the Premier League next year."

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