LONDON – Mark Hughes has been fired as manager of Southampton after just eight months in charge, the struggling Premier League club announced on Monday, despite an improved performance in a 2-2 draw with Manchester United.
The Welshman, 55, took over at St Mary’s in March and guided Southampton to Premier League survival as well as an F.A. Cup semifinal but was unable to inspire a better campaign this season.
Former RB Leipzig boss Ralph Hasenhuettl is reportedly the front-runner to replace Hughes — the new boss will be Southampton’s fourth permanent manager in 18 months.
“We would like to express our thanks to Mark and his staff for all of their efforts during their time at St Mary’s,” the club said in a statement.
“The search for a new manager to take the club forward is already underway.
“First-team assistant coach Kelvin Davis will lead the team for Wednesday’s Premier League game against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley.”
Assistant first team manager Mark Bowen and assistant first team coach Eddie Niedzwiecki have also left the club.
Southampton, which was leadikng 2-0 against Jose Mourinho’s United at home on Saturday at one stage, is 18th in the Premier League, just one point ahead of bottom club Fulham.