Thursday 26 April 2018

Mike Phelan has learnt from the best - Stoke boss Mark Hughes

Mark Hughes thinks Mike Phelan is well equipped to cope as Hull manager
Mark Hughes thinks Mike Phelan is well equipped to cope as Hull manager

Mark Hughes believes the years served under Sir Alex Ferguson will stand his former Manchester United team-mate Mike Phelan in good stead at Hull.

Stoke boss Hughes will go up against his ex-Old Trafford colleague on Saturday after Phelan was appointed Hull manager last week, following the departure of another Ferguson protege Steve Bruce.

After a promising start in caretaker charge, Phelan's first game as permanent boss ended in a 6-1 thrashing at Bournemouth while off-field issues continue to remain a distraction - most notably ownership of the club.

Phelan was on the coaching staff at United for 14 years during Ferguson's reign, spending five years as the Scot's assistant, and Hughes believes the 54-year-old has plenty of experience to draw on to make a success of his first managerial role.

"He's a great guy and I'm really pleased he's got the opportunity," said Hughes, who played with Phelan for five years at United, with the pair winning the Premier League title, FA Cup, Cup Winners' Cup and League Cup together during the early-1990s.

"He obviously wouldn't have wanted his first game to go like that and get beaten so comprehensively but he's a good coach and a good guy and he had an immediate impact when he first got the role after Steve Bruce left so he's clearly well thought of there, so given time he'll stamp his mark on the team.

"I think he'll be good for them, although there's been a lot of outside distractions and maybe a change of ownership in the offing. So Mike, as the manager, has to deal with that and cope with that and that's not easy when that's hanging around in the background.

"But I think from Mike's point of view he'll be concentrating solely on getting results and he'll be able to do that because he's been in the game a long time, alongside someone who knew how to do that on a consistent basis."

After getting a first league win of the season against Sunderland last weekend, Hughes will be looking to record back-to-back victories - and in the process notch Stoke's 100th Premier League win since achieving promotion to the top flight in 2008.

"They lost heavily last week and t hey will want a reaction, clearly," said Hughes. "But it's difficult on the back of a heavy defeat because you have to pick yourself up as a group and individuals, and it depends if they can do that.

"I think it's an opportunity for us if we can ask questions of them. If there is an issue with confidence and it is fragile then hopefully we can act on that and it will help us in our own aims for the game."

Hughes will check on the fitness of right-back Phil Bardsley after a hamstring problem forced him to be substituted against Sunderland.

Press Association

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