PA Sport

Hughes hopes change of routine can boost struggling Southampton

Hughes hopes change of routine can boost struggling Southampton
By PA Sport

09/11/2018 at 11:16Updated 09/11/2018 at 12:30

Saints have not won since September 1.

Mark Hughes hopes a training session on the St Mary’s pitch will help Southampton end their miserable record on home soil.

Saints have won only two of 17 Premier League fixtures in front of their own fans during the past 12 months.

The struggling south coast club took steps to re-energise their ailing fortunes on Thursday by sacking vice-chairman Les Reed and technical director Martin Hunter.

Manager Hughes, meanwhile, decided to switch preparations for Saturday’s visit of Watford from Saints’ Staplewood training ground to the stadium in an attempt to provoke a response from his under-performing players.

“Everybody knows if you keep on doing the same things it’s a sure sign of madness,” said Hughes at his pre-match press conference.

“Sometimes you’ve got to mix things up. We’ll see at the weekend if it’s had an impact.

“It won’t do any harm, a change of scenery. Sometimes going into a training ground day in, day out becomes a little bit monotonous and sometimes you’ve got to change things up and that’s what we did.

“It’s good for the guys to reacquaint themselves, just get their reference points in terms of where they are within the stadium.

“It changes things around and we’ll see if we get a reaction from it.”

After narrowly avoiding relegation last term, Southampton are doing little better this season and sit 16th in the table, having mustered just seven points from 11 matches.

The departures of Reed and Hunter came after a run of five league matches without a goal was followed by last weekend’s 6-1 thrashing at champions Manchester City.

Hughes, who has taken three points from five home games this season after signing a three-year contract in the summer, believes his team have an excellent opportunity for victory this weekend.

“I’d be very disappointed if we didn’t go in with the attitude that this is a game that we’ll target to win. Our intention is to get maximum points,” said Hughes.

“We’re in a situation that people think we’re under a little bit of pressure, so we’ve got to use that as a motivation going into this game.

“Watford are a good team, have had a good start, but we feel we’re more than capable of beating them.

“This is a real opportunity now to start our season in earnest.”

Saints defender Wesley Hoedt could miss the match against the Hornets due to a foot infection, while midfielder Mario Lemina is expected to be available despite tightness in a thigh muscle.

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