Mark Hughes insists he is ready to mix and match both formation and personnel throughout the season.

Going into the campaign much of the talk was about Saints playing with three centre halves and having a consistent team selection.

However, Hughes, who takes his side to Goodison Park to face Everton today, reacted quickly against Burnley on the opening day, switching to a back four and making two changes at half time, and is certainly prepared to chop and change however he feels is necessary.

He said: “I don’t think you can really do that (have just one way of playing) like maybe in days when I was playing, which was a long time ago.

“You have to have that flexibility and everybody goes on about a first choice team and first 11 and sometimes managers get criticised because they make changes because people say ‘he doesn’t know his best team’. It’s not about that.

“It’s about knowing your 25 is the best available and you have got to work with that resource you are given to the best of your ability.

“If it means sometimes players playing well but they are not suited well to the next game, the next opposition or the next circumstance then you have to make changes with guys who have played well.

“I think that’s what everybody does now and you have got to have the ability to do that.

“You don’t make changes for the sake of it and to keep people happy. That’s crazy.

“If people are in a good run of form you want them to stay in the team but if I feel that a certain group or personnel is the right group then that’s what I will go with rather than guys that played the week before, didn’t do anything wrong but aren’t the right pick for the opposition we find ourselves facing.”

Hughes insists he will show his players the respect of explaining his decisions, particularly if they are a surprise omission from the team.

“I think the key to is to tell the guys who go out of the team the reason why,” he explained.

“They won’t like it but I think they appreciate more if you give them your thinking behind the reasons why.

“They might not believe you or think you are crazy but at least you have shown them the respect they deserve in terms of an explanation.

“You can’t always do it. Sometimes you make late decisions and can’t pull them to one side and explain the decision but I do generally try and explain fully to the guys that had a genuine feeling they were going to be in the first 11 if they are disappointed.”