Southampton’s appointment of Mark Hughes back in March was met with some understandable murmurings of being an uninspired choice.
But the Welshman somehow undid Mauricio Pellegrino’s stellar work in almost getting Saints relegated, keeping the club up in England’s top flight.
That wasn’t a surprise to Brighton & Hove Albion coach Chris Hughton, who believes Hughes is one of the most underrated managers in English football.
As Hughes’ Southampton and Hughton’s Brighton square off in tonight’s Premier League game, the latter took time to lavish the former with praise - saying he is impressed by the improvement of football played by Southampton.
“All managers will have ups and downs, all of them, because it is impossible not to,” said Hughton in his pre-match press conference. [H/T BT Sport/Press Association]
“But I think in the game Mark is regarded as a very good manager. Mark’s one that gets on with the job with little fuss.
“(It was) not a surprise to me that when he got the job last season that he did the job that they asked him to do.
“And at this moment, taking that club into the season, the team are playing well.
“They are playing a good brand of football, of what people want to see and I think they will do well this season.”
Hughes earlier took the opportunity to pour on the praise for his counterpart in his pre-match press conference, calling Hughton “underrated” and “outstanding.”
“It’s always very nice when people speak well about you but it’s never anything that I think about or that grates me,” said Hughton.
“In our game you have to work as hard as you can, do as well as you can, but you always know there can be bad times around the corner.
“That’s what keeps you on your toes as a manager, very much so.”
The bromance has been cemented.