The Sun says Hughes was forced to stop training in midsession the day before last month’s clash at Arsenal.
He had to lecture his lacklustre Rangers squad on what is required for Premier League survival.
They were unlucky to lose 1-0 at the Emirates but are still hunting their first win after 11 games.
Club owner Tony Fernandes has cranked up the pressure on Sparky by declaring today’s meeting with fellow strugglers Saints is a ‘must-win’.
An insider said: “There have been concerns Mark’s message is not getting through to the players.
“They are a talented bunch but have so far failed to gel and some seem unable to fully grasp the situation the team is in.
“In training on the day before playing Arsenal, he had to interrupt and urge them to put more gusto into what they were doing.
“Mark’s done well in the transfer market and is doing the right things but he needs to see it reflected in the players.”