April 20, 2018 / 8:10 AM / a month ago

Hughes still hopeful of Saints survival despite stalemate

(Reuters) - Southampton’s scoreless stalemate at Leicester City on Thursday’s left the Saints deep in relegation trouble but manager Mark Hughes believes his side can still avoid the drop from the Premier League.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Leicester City vs Southampton - King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain - April 19, 2018 Southampton manager Mark Hughes Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs

Southampton took on the Foxes in desperate need of a win after a run of four consecutive defeats but the draw leaves them stagnating in 18th position, four points adrift of safety with four matches remaining.

Hughes stood by his team’s defensive approach at Leicester but says the club are now at a point where they have to risk everything to win their upcoming matches.

“Leicester were the home side and throwing on attacking players and we had to make sure that we had to be resolute and not lose the game and that’s what we were,” Hughes told reporters after the match.

“Leicester will test you with the pace and the ability they have...

“It’s difficult at the moment... We have got to get the balance right and there will be games coming up where we will just have to take more risks and that’s where we find ourselves unfortunately.”

Hughes believes his players have the desire to avoid relegation but must show it on the pitch if they are to engineer an unlikely escape.

“I have been working with them for five weeks or whatever it is and there is real desire from the guys and they are sticking at it...,” Hughes added.

“It’s not going to be easy. We have got difficult fixtures... it’s difficult to win away games in the Premier League and everybody knows that. We are just going to have to be better in terms of asking more questions of the opposition.”

If Southampton continue the dismal away form that has garnered just two wins in 17 matches, relegation is virtually guaranteed as they travel to Everton and Swansea City in two of their final three fixtures.

Southampton play Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals on Sunday followed by a league fixture against Bournemouth next weekend.

Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru

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