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​Hughes urges Southampton players to enjoy relegation battle

Southampton boss Mark Hughes wants his players to embrace the challenge of their relegation battle with the club five points from safety.

He said: "I think the message is to enjoy the challenge. It's not an easy situation but don't be cowered by it, get out there and show people what you're about.

"You have the opportunity to make a statement every time you play, every time you put the shirt on. There's a lot of talk about fear of failure - my interpretation of that is that you shouldn't allow people an opportunity to criticise you and you've got to use that motivation to drive you onto bigger and better things.

"I think we've allowed ourselves to be open to criticism because of the way the season has gone but we can turn that around and make a statement in these games that we have remaining, and that's our intention.

"It's a challenge for everybody," he added. "You sense that the club wasn't anticipating the season they were going to have.

"But we are where we are at the moment and the here and now is that we're in a situation that needs resolving and turning around, and that's what we'll attempt to do.

"We've got a short space of time to do it to have an impact but I've been really pleased with how the players have reacted to my appointment and my staff coming in, and I sense there's a real determination now to get things back on track in terms of our Premier League status.

"We're going to have to work very hard. We've made it more difficult for ourselves, clearly, the longer this run without wins continues so it's got to change soon."


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Ian Ferris
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