Mark Hughes believes there are a lot of benefits to the modern 4-4-2 system.

After several formation changes Saints have moved to a traditional looking shape that many felt had long since fallen out of favour in the Premier League.

However, it has worked for Saints, and has also been adopted by several other clubs this season.

Hughes feels the way 4-4-2 is played has changed massively, and that makes it a much more attractive proposition to managers.

He said: “I think it is not the rigid formation I remember.

“When I was playing everyone used to play 4-4-2 and it was a little bit more rigid.

“You didn't get centre-backs getting on the ball, full backs high, so it is a lot more fluid than it was in the past when it was two banks of four and two strikers who were battering rams who you used if you wanted to get it forward it as quickly as possible.

“There is a little bit more thought and process behind what you do within a 4-4-2 now.

“A lot of the elements of the formation apply to different formations as well so it is not as rigid as it used to be and if you have good players and intelligent players who understand what you are trying to achieve and you do put work in on the training ground to emphasise and reinforce the elements of your play you are trying to be better at then I think it is a good formation.

“It gives you a focal point of two strikers, you can let one come short and hit balls into space to turn people around.

“A lot of teams now want to press you from the front and you can take the press out just by clipping balls in behind, so there are a lot of elements that help you.

“With all formations there will be certain tactics that will make it a risk for you whatever formation you pick or way you go so no one formation is the right one, it is about making sure you are adaptable and flexible as the game progresses.”