Hughes: TV deal makes PL ‘not as fair as could be’

Date published: Friday 4th May 2018 9:52

Southampton manager Mark Hughes feels it is unfair that relegation rivals Swansea have more recovery time ahead of their crunch clash on Tuesday.

Struggling Saints face a televised 5.30pm kick-off at Everton on Saturday before the midweek trip to the Liberty Stadium, while the Swans start their game at Bournemouth at 3pm.

Hughes’ 18th-placed side are a point and a place below the Welsh club going into the weekend with next week’s meeting expected to have a significant bearing on the Premier League survival battle.

He believes clubs should not be given advantages by the fixture schedule at this critical stage of the season.

“They make the point on the last day of the season that everyone has to play at the same time so maybe they should do that in the last two weeks of the season. Maybe that would be slightly more fair,” said Hughes.

“The Premier League is paid a huge amount by TV and at some point you have to pay the price and the pound of flesh is kick-off times and times when you’d rather play at 3pm on a Saturday.

“It’s what the Premier League is and we accept sometimes it might not be as fair as it could be but if you take the money you have to pay the price.”

Southampton secured a massive boost in their bid for safety by beating local rivals Bournemouth last weekend.

The victory was just their second in 22 league matches and was greeted with jubilant celebrations at St Mary’s.

Hughes thinks the relief of last Saturday has raised morale on the south coast but insists it will not lead to complacency with three crucial fixtures remaining.

“I don’t think we’ll fall into the trap of thinking that we got job done last weekend because we haven’t. Nowhere near it,” said Hughes.

“It was a moment in time where we felt that emotion. I think everyone in the stadium felt that emotion and there was an outpouring but I felt it wasn’t a bad thing.

“It brought everyone closer, it brought our fans closer to the team and maybe that distance had started to increase over the course of the season.

“For all the emotion that we saw and the fact we were able to at long last please our supporters we have to do it again and we don’t want to disappoint our fans by losing at Everton.”

In-form opponents Everton sit eighth following just one defeat in seven games, a run which has included four victories.

Sam Allardyce’s men have little left to play for this season but Hughes is not expecting their comfortable position to do Saints any favours.

“Sam’s a very experienced manager who demands a lot of his players and he won’t allow them to taper off their season,” added Hughes.

“I would imagine they will want to finish well.”

Southampton will remain without injured captain Steven Davis (Achilles), while winger Sofiane Boufal is unlikely to return following his recent falling out with Hughes.

More Related Articles