New Southampton boss Mark Hughes admits his sole objective is to avoid relegation and he believes a fresh voice could work wonders at St Mary’s.
The Saints board decided to take action on Monday night after former boss Mauricio Pellegrino had picked up just 28 points from their first 30 matches.
Last weekend’s 3-0 defeat to Newcastle United was the final straw as the Saints face up to a relegation battle.
Southampton are 17th, just one point above safety with eight games remaining, although they will get a week or so to understand Hughes’ methods before they return to Premier League action.
Hughes’ men are in action in the FA Cup this weekend against Wigan and the former Saints striker admits the league is his priority.
He took his first training session on Thursday and is confident he and his backroom staff of Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki can guide the club to safety.
“It’s a challenge I’m excited by,” he told reporters. “It’s a great opportunity to come back to a club I know well, and a club I’ve got a real affinity with, and I couldn’t turn that down.
“I bring experience of the Premier League. I understand what it takes in this league to win games. But first and foremost I think it’s about coming in and maybe being that different voice, that different message from myself and the staff, that will enable the players to recognise and focus on what needs to be done in this key period of the season.
“The objective clearly is to remain in the league and make sure we’re a Premier League club next year.”