Stoke City sack Mark Hughes after poor run

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Stoke City has sacked Mark Hughes following a poor run of results
Stoke City has sacked Mark Hughes following a poor run of results

Mark Hughes has been sacked as manager of Stoke City, just hours after the club’s FA Cup third-round exit at the hands of League Two Coventry City.

A run of five defeats in seven Premier League games also contributed to Hughes’ departure and he leaves with the club in the relegation zone.

Hughes, 54, had been in charge of the Potters for four and a half years.

Stoke, who play Manchester United on 15 January, say they will “look to appoint a new manager as soon as possible”.

A section of Stoke fans called for him to leave and held up banners throughout the 2-1 defeat at the Ricoh Arena.

After the game – his 200th in all competitions as Stoke manager – Hughes said he did not think the defeat changed the situation regarding his future and said it “might be a blessing” for the rest of the season.

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Hughes, a former Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, Fulham and QPR boss, succeeded Tony Pulis at Stoke in May 2013 and was the fourth longest-serving manager at a Premier League club.

The Welshman guided Stoke to three straight ninth-placed finishes, dropping to 13th last season.

Hughes rested players as Stoke lost 5-0 at Chelsea on 30 December, saying they were focusing on the Newcastle game on New Year’s Day.

But a 1-0 defeat by the Magpies, who were a point worse off than their opponents before kick-off, put more pressure on Hughes and saw Stoke fall to 18th in the table on goal difference.

Stoke have conceded five or more in three Premier League games this season and have let in a total of 47 goals – seven more than the second-worst tally held by both West Ham and Watford.

The 5-1 defeat by Tottenham at Wembley on 9 December prompted angry fans to confront the Stoke players at the city’s railway station.

After that game, Hughes said there had been “an undercurrent” through his time at the club from fans who were against his appointment.

On Thursday Hughes said he did not need reassurance about his position.