Hughes 'thrilled' to commit to Southampton

London (AFP) –


Mark Hughes, described as the 'perfect fit' by Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger earlier this month, said he was thrilled to have signed a three-year contract with the club after preserving their Premier League status.

The 54-year-old former Manchester United and Barcelona striker -- who numbers Wales and Manchester City amongst the teams he has managed -- bounced back from being sacked by Stoke earlier in the season to guide Southampton to 17th spot after they had been in danger of relegation thanks to the hapless stewardship of Mauricio Pellegrino.

Hughes arrived at St Mary's in March on a short-term contract and took eight points from as many games to help Saints avoid relegation on the final day of the season.

"Mark (Bowen the assistant manager), Eddie (Niedzwiecki the first team coach) and I are thrilled to have signed long-term contracts with the club," said Hughes in a statement released by Southampton.

"It was the only option we considered, having spent the last eight weeks with the club.

"The staff and the players will work hard every day to deliver the success this club deserves, and with everyone pulling together we will achieve our goals."

The club said Hughes and his coaching team had already shown in the short time they had been in place what they were capable of and this momentum should be carried into next season.

"Southampton Football Club can confirm that Mark Hughes has signed a new three-year contract as First Team Manager," read the club statement.

"Mark and his team had a massive impact from the first day on the players, staff and fans alike, and was able to pull together everyone involved with the club to deliver the results needed," read their statement.

"It is important now, under Mark's leadership, for everyone to move into the new season with a renewed focus and energy alongside the continued and valuable support of our fans."