(Reuters) - The arrival of Mark Hughes as manager at Southampton has had an immediate impact on the team’s attitude, striker Charlie Austin has said.
Hughes, who replaced Mauricio Pellegrino earlier this month, got off to a winning start in a 2-0 win over Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup quarter-finals last Sunday.
However, the Welshman’s main target is to keep the side in the Premier League, where they lie 18th, two points adrift of safety, with eight games left to play.
“When the gaffer came in he said, ‘Look, we’re here for eight weeks. There’s no getting away from it, we’ve all got to put all our energies and efforts into these eight weeks to get ourselves into a cup final and stay in the Premier League,’” Austin told the Southampton website southamptonfc.com.
“Everyone knows that is the ultimate goal for us now. There has been a change in everyone around the training ground – a change in attitude. Commitment maybe? I don’t know.
“Sometimes you need that change. What they’ve brought so far has been fantastic, and hopefully that will continue.”
Southampton can climb out of the relegation zone if they beat West Ham United, who sit two points above them in 17th, on March 31 but they will have to improve on a dire away record that has brought just two wins in 14 league games on the road this season.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford