Southampton manager Mark Hughes said a mix up over the team’s hotel in Swansea that saw their block booking cancelled had inspired his team to their crucial win on Tuesday night.
Hughes was speaking after substitute Manolo Gabbiadini’s 72nd-minute goal handed the Saints a 1-0 win at the Liberty Stadium and all but secured his team’s Premier League status.
The win, which saw West Brom relegated and pushed Swansea to the brink, came after a bitter mix up that saw Southampton forced to stay 35 miles away from the ground after their booking at a Swansea city centre hotel was cancelled because of a “virus.”
Hughes was also angry that his team was forced to walk the final 100 meters to the stadium because they were supposed to wait for the home team to arrive first.
Though there was still a remarkable scene as #SaintsFC told they would have to wait on the bus for circa 25 mins as the Swansea bus unloaded. Mark Hughes just told driver to stop and led the players up to the ground on foot
— Adam Leitch (@adamleitchsport) May 8, 2018
“I’m not for one minute suggesting Swansea had anything to do with [the hotel cancellation],” said Hughes.
“Maybe it was overzealous Swansea fans in positions to affect our hotel booking. But those things you can use to your own benefit as a motivating factor.
“We got held up a little bit outside as well because we were first here on the coach and apparently we were meant to wait for Swansea.
“But we weren’t going to do that. We were too focused, we got off the bus and walked the 100 yards into the ground. We weren’t going to be denied and messed about.”
The result means Swansea would need to beat already-relegated Stoke and see a nine-goal swing in goal difference to finish above the Saints. Southampton, meanwhile, play Manchester City on Sunday.
Southampton celebrated wildly at the final whistle, but Hughes said his players were still focused on ensuring survival.
“Those celebrations shouldn’t be misinterpreted,” said Hughes.
“They were emotion as a consequence of winning this key game.
“We had to win and we understood that and it wasn’t that we were celebrating staying up because there is still an issue to be resolved in that regard.
“There is a little bit of a cushion but we are playing Man City and we have to be careful.”