Southampton manager Mark Hughes‘ impish smile betrayed his steady post-match press conference after Saints nearly cemented their Premier League status with a 1-0 win at Swansea City on Tuesday.
[ RECAP: Swans 0-1 Saints ]
Saints saw their Welsh hotel reservations canceled due to a virus before the match, sending them well outside Swansea for their stay.
A Welshman himself, Hughes couldn’t resist a comment.
“We suspected that maybe some of the dark arts at work but it didn’t let us affect us, in fact we used it as a motivating factor,” Hughes said. “That helped our focus and we won’t be staying in the vicinity of the hotel Marriott Swansea, I think we will stick to the Vale of Glamorgan.”
Saints will enter Championship Sunday with a 3-point lead on 18th place Swansea City and a nine-goal goal differential advantage. Also in play in 17th place Huddersfield Town, currently level with Southampton on points but with two matches remaining (Arsenal, Chelsea).
Saints currently have an 11-goal advantage in differential on Swans. A major loss to Man City isn’t out of the question, and Swans meet a porous Stoke defense which was hemorrhaging goals even before it was relegated this weekend.
“It is not mathematically certain,” Hughes said. “We had to come here and we had to win. If we had not won today it would have been very, very difficult for us. It is not done yet but tonight we have put ourselves in the position where we have a great chance to stay up.
“We will enjoy tonight, we got what we set out to get. A huge result, we are delighted but still got work to do.”