Saturday, 2 November 2013

Dani Osvaldo Cost Me My Job - Mark Hughes

You do not need to tell Mark Hughes how dangerous Southampton striker Dani Osvaldo can be - he quit Fulham because they refused to let him sign the Italian international.

Stoke boss Hughes wanted to snatch up the hitman in the summer of 2011 when he was banging in the goals for Espanyol.

But his Craven Cottage bosses refused to sanction the £13m fee and Hughes decided to walk.

Osvaldo went on to join Roma and 27 goals in 55 games for the Serie A outfit earned him a move to St Mary's in August, where he was reunited with Mauricio Pochettino - his boss at Espanyol.

Hughes said: "Dani is made to measure for the Premiership. I could see that when I went out to Spain to watch him.

“He was at Espanyol then. I thought he would come to England sooner than he did, but he went to Italy.

“He was a little bit expensive and Fulham didn’t want to spend that sort of money.

“But when Southampton signed him in the summer I thought that was a very good piece of business by them.

“Dani is still finding his feet, but he is a very good player.”

And Osvaldo is not the only one buying in to Pochettino’s work ethic, which has seen hard-working Southampton boasting the best defensive record in the top flight. Their mean rearguard has conceded just three times.

“That’s down to how they press high up the pitch, “ noted Hughes. “We’re facing a good team and we will have to be up for the challenge.

“It will be important if we can get on the front foot. We’re the home side and we need to dictate to the opposition.

"Our home form has been a bit disappointing, but our performances away have been good. We need to start getting  positive results in front of our own fans.”

After slipping to fourth from bottom, Hughes wants to make the most of the Saints’ clash and games against Swansea and Sunderland.

But the Potters’ boss admitted: “There are no easy games in the Premier League. Southampton are fifth and Swansea are an established Premier side now. It shows the strength of the league.

“Southampton are a very good side. They work exceptionally hard and their players are committing to what he (Pochettino) is trying to do.

“They’ve got good players and they have invested a lot of money in the summer, I think it was about £30m.

“They are a good club. I was down there for a short time as a player and really enjoyed it, although it was different circumstances as they were down at the wrong end of the table at the time.”

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