Could former Saint Mark Hughes return to Southampton as manager?

Nathan Redmond of Southampton looks dejected after the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Southampton at St. James Park

Could former Saint Mark Hughes return to Southampton as manager?

Welshman Mark Hughes was firming as the bookmakers' favourite to replace Mauricio Pellegrino as Southampton manager on Tuesday after the Argentine was sacked with the Premier League club hovering a point and a place above the relegation zone.

Of their eight remaining league fixtures five are away from home and two of their home matches are against Chelsea and Manchester City.

"The club will look to appoint a new management team as soon as possible, with the search for a replacement already under way".

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The final straw for the Saints board was the spineless 3-0 defeat at Newcastle United on Saturday when Pellegrino accused some of his players of giving up.

Pellegrino paid the price for overseeing a disastrous run of results that left Southampton in huge relegation danger and was given the boot by the south coast club.

There has been a fear around Southampton for some time that they were sleep walking towards relegation under Pellegrino who failed to justify the club's decision to appoint him as Claude Puel's successor in June.

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But Jeremy Wilson of the Daily Telegraph reports that Saints have "prioritised the need for Premier League experience and an immediate ability to galvanise their flagging squad". As for Puel, he is now in charge at Leicester who, ironically, are eighth in the Premier League, the position that Saints were when they fired the Frenchman.

Former Hull and Watford manager Marco Silva has also been linked with the job, and was in the running last summer when Pellegrino was appointed.

If Southampton are prepared to wait until the summer in their search for a new long-term manager they would no doubt boost their chances of luring over a boss who is now in employment.

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"Yes, you can lay the blame at the manager's door at how the team has played and been set but, but at the end of the day the players out on the football pitch have got to do the business".

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