Stoke City sack manager Mark Hughes

English Premier League club Stoke City have sacked manager Mark Hughes after they were beaten by League Two side Coventry City in the FA Cup third round, the club announced on Saturday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Hughes was sacked by chief executive Tony Scholes at Stoke’s training ground after returning from Coventry.

Hughes who spent four and half years with the club had been under pressure after a poor run of form which saw Stoke fall into the Premier League relegation zone.

A 2-1 defeat at the Ricoh Arena proved the final straw, and Stoke confirmed via Twitter on Saturday night that Hughes had been dismissed.

The statement thanked Hughes for leading Stoke to their best finishes of the Premier League era – three straight ninth places – but said they would now be looking for a new manager.

It read: ”Stoke City can confirm that the contract of manager Mark Hughes has been terminated with immediate effect.

”We would like to thank Mark for all he has achieved for the Club over the last four and a half years, notably in guiding us to three successive ninth places finishes in the Premier League, and we wish him every success for the future.

”The Club will look to appoint a new manager as soon as possible and will be making no further comment at this time.”

Hughes had claimed after the loss to Coventry, a side 53 league places lower than Stoke, that the result would not affect his future and he was confident of remaining in his job.

He said: “Has it changed anything markedly from this afternoon? Is it any different from the situation after the Newcastle game? I don’t think it is. It just highlights we need to do better.”

Stoke, who have played in the top flight for nearly a decade since 2008, are currently 18th in the Premier League table, with 20 points from their 22 fixtures so far.

Over the Christmas period they suffered a number of disappointing results, including home defeats to relegation rivals West Ham and Newcastle, and a 5-0 thrashing at Chelsea.

Many Stoke fans had begun to turn against Hughes, with banners and chants directed against the Welshman seen and heard among the away end on Saturday.

After the defeat, chairman Peter Coates decided to act and end Hughes’ 199-game, four-and-a-half year spell as Stoke manager.

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