Southampton can stay in Premier League if we stick together, says boss Mark Hughes
Last Updated: 29/04/18 11:33pm
Mark Hughes wants Southampton to recreate the survival spirit of his playing days when he helped the Saints to retain their Premier League status back in 1999.
Relegation-threatened Saints re-energised their hopes of safety with Saturday's 2-1 victory over south coast rivals Bournemouth.
Manager Hughes was a 35-year-old veteran striker coming towards the end of his playing career when he helped Saints avoid relegation on the final day of the 1998-99 season.
The Welshman believes unity at the club played a key role in avoiding the dreaded drop then and believes it can do the same again now.
"My memory of that time was that everybody was together. Everybody knew we were in a difficult situation but everybody stuck together; players, staff, and fans, most importantly," said Hughes.
"That's what got us over the line then and hopefully we can do it the same this time."
Saints had won just one of their previous 21 Premier League games before beating Bournemouth and preserving their all-time unbeaten home record in all competitions against their near neighbours.
Dusan Tadic's double secured the long overdue win, which was greeted by a roar of relief from the home support and leaves Saints a point from safety with three games to play.
Hughes feels some of the negativity at St Mary's has now been lifted and has urged his players to maintain their performance levels to complete the job.
"We've set the bar higher in terms of the qualities we will need to show in the games ahead of us so it's not going to be easy," added Hughes. "It has to be that level, if it's not then we won't do it.
"We've given ourselves an opportunity and a chance to turn this around.
"Results change everything. They change perception, they change people's mentality, they change fans' mentality, it's not all negative now.
"The performance and result together puts everyone in a different frame of mind."