Charlie Austin has been instantly impressed with new Southampton manager Mark Hughes.
The boss was appointed last Wednesday, with eight Premier League matches remaining in the season, and has been quick to make an impact behind the scenes.
Hughes oversaw a 2-0 victory at Wigan as Saints progressed to a first Emirates FA Cup semi-final for 15 years, and Austin believes his presence has sparked an immediate change in the mood at Staplewood.
“When the gaffer came in he said ‘look, we’re here for eight weeks. There’s no getting away from it, we’ve all got to put all our energies and efforts into these eight weeks to get ourselves into a cup final and stay in the Premier League’,” the striker revealed, having returned to first-team training this week after three months on the sidelines.
“Everyone knows that is the ultimate goal for us now. There has been a change in everyone around the training ground – a change in attitude. Commitment maybe? I don’t know.
“Sometimes you need that change. What they’ve brought so far has been fantastic, and hopefully that will continue.
“It’s not just him. Mark (Bowen) is here and Eddie (Niedzwiecki), which is great, because they’re all having their say and having their input, which is important because you’re not just hearing the same voice.
“But if the gaffer wants to get his point across, he certainly does that.”
For Austin, Hughes’s presence on the training pitch means an opportunity to learn from one of the finest British forwards of his generation.
“It’s going to help,” said Saints’ top scorer. “Any little bits are going to help and you can pick his brain on certain things.
“If he sees weakness in parts of your game, he can help and I’m sure he will. To work with someone like him is exciting.”