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Watford-Southampton Preview

A rough season on the pitch for Southampton is starting to see accountability being held off it.

Following the sacking of their vice-chairman, manager Mark Hughes reportedly could be the next to go if the Saints don't end their winless rot Saturday against visiting Watford.

Southampton (1-4-6) sit 16th in the Premier League table - one point clear of the drop zone - and are 0-3-4 in the top-flight since a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace, all the way back on Sept. 1. On Thursday, the club sacked vice-chairman Les Reed, who had been in that position since April 2010.

In a statement, team chairman Ralph Krueger said: "The process of recruiting the right individual to head up our football operations is under way, and is a decision that needs to be given the necessary time and attention that reflects what an important position it is within the club."

Rumours continue to swirl though the British media that embattled manager Hughes could be next. Hired in March, Hughes helped guide the Saints away from the relegation zone last season and was rewarded with a three-year contract.

"I don't think my position is being diminished too much," Hughes said at his weekly press conference via the club's official website.

The Saints might have hit rock bottom with last weekend's 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City. Danny Ings ended Southampton's five-game league goalless drought in the 30th minute, but the visitors were already down 3-0 by that point.

"We feel terrible," midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg said in a statement released on the team's official website. "I can only say, again, thank you and sorry to the supporters and sorry to Southampton Football Club.

"You need to turn (the loss to Man City) around and use it as fire and use it as fuel to go forward and give everything next Saturday for a win."

Watford (6-1-4), meanwhile, closed out October with back-to-back Premier League victories over Wolves and Huddersfield Town by a combined 5-0 scoreline. That two-game stretch came at the appropriate time as the Hornets were mired in an 0-3-1 rut prior to those matches.

However, the good times came crashing down at Newcastle last Saturday, as Watford were stymied by the lowly Magpies. Ayoze Perez's goal in the 65th minute held up and carried Newcastle to their first win of the league campaign and right out of the drop zone.

"It's a lesson we have to learn from," defender Adrian Mariappa told Watford's official website.

Watford manager Javi Gracia felt there were plenty of missed chances among the 16 official shots taken by his club last weekend, although only one was deemed on target.

"If you don't score and don't kill the game then things happen like (last Saturday)," the gaffer said. "It is difficult to understand, to accept the result."

Now, the focus must shift to make the proper tactical improvements and adjustments that can prevent the Hornets from suffering a similar fate versus Southampton, or down the road.

"We need to be demanding with ourselves to improve," Gracia said. "I think we are in the right way."

The Hornets were not much in the right last season against Southampton, drawing 2-2 at home and falling 2-0 in the reverse fixture at St. Mary's Stadium.

Updated November 8, 2018

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