Hughes: Fans were magnificent

By SFC Media time Mon 23 Apr Chelsea v Saints
Photo by Matt Watson | Mark Hughes

Mark Hughes wants to see his team repay the Southampton fans for their support at Wembley with three points against Bournemouth on Saturday.

Saints were backed by a sea of red and white in yesterday’s Emirates FA Cup semi-final with Chelsea, which would signal the end of the club’s best run in the competition since 2003.

Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata struck second-half goals to seal Chelsea’s place in the final, but Hughes was quick to thank the Saints fans for sticking by their team.

“They were magnificent today,” said the boss. “We’re going to show our appreciation next week – it’s a huge game for us.

“We’ll be ready to go again. We’re clearly disappointed with the result today, but we’ll put that behind us very, very quickly.

“We’ve got a huge game next week and we’re going to need everybody shouting from the rooftops. It’s going to be a huge help."

Hughes made attacking substitutions in a bid to keep Saints’ cup dream alive and saw his team put Chelsea on the back foot for periods of the second half. 

Blues goalkeeper Willy Caballero fumbled a high ball over his own goal line only to be handed a reprieve by a soft free-kick decision, having already ridden his luck with a fortunate save to deny Nathan Redmond, while Charlie Austin struck the post.

“We wanted to keep it solid initially,” said Hughes. “It was always the intention that, as the game progressed, we would be a little bit more expansive and get guys on the pitch who can affect individuals with pieces of skill.

“To a certain point it worked. I thought for a period after we made the changes Chelsea were a little bit rattled. They had to slow the game down, but they’ve got that experience in Europe to do that.”

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