Hughes excited by Southampton quality

Olympique Lyonnais has struggled without star midfielder Nabil Fekir who will be out for another three weeks recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery

Olympique Lyonnais has struggled without star midfielder Nabil Fekir who will be out for another three weeks recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery

Mark Hughes' first win as Southampton manager ended the club's 15-year wait for an FA Cup semi-final appearance as they beat Wigan Athletic 2-0 at the DW Stadium.

Midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg had opened the scoring in the 62nd minute.

"I wanted us to be a bit more dominant and play in the opposition half", he said.

"We've been speaking to Charlie over the last two days and he's really encouraged by how it's going", said Hughes of Southampton's top goalscorer.

"The work we've done since I've come in and the positivity of this result will help us moving forward".

In January, defeat in the third round at League Two Coventry City, saw Stoke exit the FA Cup and Hughes sacked as their manager practically before he even stepped off the bus back in the Potteries. I was fearful at half-time because I felt we had played that well in the first half and hadn't got enough out of the game. And while Manolo Gabbiadini had a penalty brilliantly saved by Christian Walton, Cedric Soares put the tie to bed in stoppage-time with a neat finish.

Gabbiadini, scorer now of one goal in his last 20 games, had the ideal opportunity to improve that desperate record but saw a firm spot-kick saved brilliantly by Christian Walton, diving to his left.

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"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 League One side began in enterprising fashion and almost took the lead when Nathan Byrne shot through a crowd of players, and the ball inched agonizingly past the post with Chey Dunkley a toe-end away from making decisive contact.

Will Grigg scored the winning goal against Manchester City in the last round, inflicting a rare defeat on Pep Guardiola's side.

Southampton showed their Premier League experience as they finally killed the game off in injury time.

Walton stopped Hojbjerg from heading home a Dusan Tadic corner with another excellent stop, but he was unable to deny the same player just moments later, as Hojbjerg got on the end of another Tadic corner to fire home from close range - for his first goal for the club.

Ryan Bertrand has admitted that Mark Hughes's appointment as Southampton manager has had a galvanising effect on the team.

"It's so disappointing to come so close to Wembley".

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