Mark Hughes says his team should have no fear against Chelsea in today’s Emirates FA Cup semi-final.
The Southampton boss leads his side to Wembley this afternoon, hoping to guide them to next month’s final and a shot at winning the famous trophy for the first time since 1976.
The teams met only last week, with the Blues coming from 2-0 down in the closing stages to win 3-2 at St Mary’s, but Hughes says the control Saints had for the first 70 minutes of that game shows they are more than capable of springing a surprise today.
“We were on the front foot, we were affecting Chelsea and the tempo they wanted to play at, so we're going to have to do more of the same,” he said.
mark hugheswe're going there with a view it's a one-off game, so let's see where it takes us.
“We've got the benefit of recent memories in terms of what worked and what didn't, so we'll revisit that and hopefully with a little bit more luck maybe and a little bit more fortune in terms of where the ball bounces in the box – when we had ten players to their five and it drops to them – hopefully the odds will be more in our favour this time.
“We should have no fear, because we've proved already we can compete against them.”
Both sides have short turnarounds for the match, with both having played in the Premier League on Thursday night, but Hughes says his players will be energised for the clash.
“It's a quick turnaround, clearly,” he said. “We haven't had too much time to prepare leading into the game, but we'll be ready to go.
“It's important that we're positive in the game and let's see where that takes us. If we can get ourselves in a winning position then I think Chelsea will understand that it will be difficult to overcome us, but we don't want lightning to strike twice.
“Clearly we've been hurt by not being able to keep a lead in the league game, so maybe that will enable us not to allow that happen again.
“We're going there with the view it's a one-off game, so let's see where it takes us.”