Tuesday 23 January 2018

Stoke boss Mark Hughes grateful for support of board during 'peaks and troughs'

Mark Hughes is the Premier League's fourth longest-serving manager
Mark Hughes is the Premier League's fourth longest-serving manager

Mark Hughes believes some volatile Premier League owners wield the axe too quickly and is grateful Stoke do not have a trigger-happy chief.

Craig Shakespeare became the second top-flight manager to lose his job this season when he was sacked on Tuesday just four months after he signed a three-year deal to take the Leicester post permanently.

The other Premier League boss to be removed, Frank De Boer, managed just four games in the division at Crystal Palace, and Hughes has queried such hastiness.

There is more stability in Staffordshire where Hughes, the fourth longest-serving boss in the Premier League, has continued to retain the support of Stoke chairman Peter Coates, even after they were thrashed 7-2 by Manchester City last weekend.

"I think what we have here is people that have been in game for a long time," said Hughes, who was appointed by the Potters in 2013 after Tony Pulis' seven-year stint was ended.

"They've seen the high, the lows, what's in-between, they understand that football isn't a straight line in terms of success and failure.

"There's ups and downs, peaks and troughs - you have to navigate your way through those. If you've been in the game a long time, as our owners have, then they've seen that and they understand that.

"Sometimes when clubs have new ownership or sometimes when clubs have ownerships that are maybe a little bit more emotional, I think people can make mistakes and press buttons to get rid of good people, people who have proven themselves over a decent period.

"They bow to the immediate thinking rather than actually looking at the quality of people that you have in the building and back the quality that you have.

"I think that's what's happened at this club for many, many years - they make decisions, they recruit correctly and then they back the people who they feel will do the job. In my view that's always the best way to go."

Stoke are just one place above the Foxes in the Premier League table, having taken eight points from as many games.

Having faced City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal already, they now meet the bottom three, plus Brighton and Watford, in their immediate run of fixtures.

"It's more a key period. It's not a must-win situation," Hughes added, speaking ahead of Saturday's visit of 19th-placed Bournemouth.

"We're looking at these games coming up and we feel it gives us a really good opportunity to get points on the board, look to get back-to-back wins - you do that and you shoot up the table.

"There are a load of teams within two points of us. We're only one win away from a top-10 position. It's still early days and we're very positive."

Xherdan Shaqiri (ankle) is a doubt to face the Cherries at the bet365 Stadium, as are Peter Crouch (back), Bruno Martins Indi (calf), Ryan Shawcross (back) and Tom Edwards (ankle), but Joe Allen should return from a head injury.

Press Association

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