October 20, 2017 / 10:06 AM / 9 months ago

Hughes grateful for supportive directors

LONDON (Reuters) - In a week in which another Premier League manager was sacked, Mark Hughes, in charge of struggling Stoke City, has expressed his gratitude to understanding employers.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City vs Stoke City - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - October 14, 2017 Stoke City manager Mark Hughes applauds the fans after the match REUTERS/Andrew Yates

On Tuesday Leicester City’s Craig Shakespeare followed Crystal Palace’s Frank de Boer in losing his job, and Everton’s Ronald Koeman is under pressure, although he claimed to have “full total support of the board” after Thursday’s Europa League defeat at home to Olympique Lyon.

Hughes, appointed in May 2013, is one of only four top- flight managers to have been in place for more than four years, along with Arsenal’s long-serving Arsene Wenger, Burnley’s Sean Dyche and this weekend’s opposite number, Eddie Howe of Bournemouth.

“What we have here (at Stoke) is people who’ve been in the game a long time,” he said of the club’s owner-chairman Peter Coates and fellow directors.

“They understand football isn’t a straight line.

“There’s ups and downs, peaks and troughs.

“If you’ve been in the game a long time as our owners have, they understand that.”

After suffering a 7-2 defeat at Manchester City last week, Stoke have two wins from eight games and only Leicester, Bournemouth and Palace are below them in the table.

“We didn’t perform anywhere near what we know we are capable of. However, we came up against a side at the very top of their game,” said Hughes of the drubbing by former club City.

“We are not in denial, we will learn from the match. But we won’t be the first or last going up against Man City at the moment to find it difficult.

“We have come through a very difficult period, however, now we face a better set of fixtures and have an opportunity to climb the league.

“It’s very early days and we are positive going into the rest of the season.”

Xherdan Shaqiri is doubtful for the Bournemouth game with a sprained ankle, Hughes said, but Welsh international midfielder Joe Allen should return.

Reporting by Steve Tongue, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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