The Saints' keeper was instrumental with numerous saves in holding onto a 2-0 lead at Crystal Palace that resulted in a big three points and a clean sheet.
"He's done very well.", Hughes said about McCarthy.
"I think he's getting better and stronger and showing more leadership.
"That's the demand from your number one goalkeeper so you have to have that.
"He is helping the guys in front of him and leading from a position behind our back four which is starting to look really solid and more accomplished with each game they play."