May 12, 2018 / 3:17 PM / 2 months ago

Soccer: Hughes keen to become Southampton's permanent manager

(Reuters) - Southampton boss Mark Hughes has said he would consider taking charge at St Mary’s on a permanent basis but has urged the Premier League club to make a quick decision to avoid another difficult season.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Swansea City v Southampton - Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Britain - May 8, 2018 Southampton manager Mark Hughes celebrates after the match. Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra

The Welshman, who arrived at his former club Southampton in March on a short-term deal until the end of the campaign, has guided the south-coast club to the brink of top-flight safety ahead of the final round of games on Sunday.

“I am a professional football manager and this is what I do and clearly I want to be able to keep working,” Hughes, who played for Saints from 1998-2000, told reporters.

“It’s not for me to put any pressure on anybody but if the club feels that they want to put some meat on the bones in terms of the discussion then I am open to that, but I don’t really want to discuss it before the game at the weekend.”

With goal difference providing Saints with a cushion over third-bottom Swansea City, who are three points behind, heading into their home match with champions Manchester City on Sunday, it would take a remarkable turnaround for them to go down.

Hughes, 54, remains one of the favourites to take the Southampton hot seat on a permanent basis but he said that regardless of whether he is at St Mary’s next season, the club owners must chalk out a plan for the future.

“It’s important for the club that they do (make a quick decision) because clearly there is work to be done immediately after the season,” he added.

“Decisions have to be made in terms of recruitment and retention of players so it would make sense for a quick appointment.. but I can’t shape that or dictate that, that’s a decision for the club.”

Hughes has hailed the players for their attitude in the last few weeks and backed them to improve next season.

“It doesn’t need a great deal of change,” the manager said. “There are a group of players here that want to get better, have the capability of getting better.”

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; editing by Ken Ferris

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