(Reuters) - Stoke City manager Mark Hughes remained defiant on Monday after being booed by the home supporters following the Midlands club’s second Premier League defeat in 48 hours.
The Welshman cut a sorry figure in driving rain as he watched his side lose 1-0 at home to fellow strugglers Newcastle United with many Stoke fans jeering his presence on the touchline and unfurling a banner calling for his removal.
Monday’s defeat was Stoke’s fifth in seven games and left them perilously placed in 16th, two points above the drop zone.
But Hughes said he was not concerned by the criticism and indicated there was a campaign in the media to get him sacked.
“I think for the last two or three weeks the agenda in the media and social media... that was going to happen,” he said. “It doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is the team does better.
“I have talked about the noise before and it only goes away if you win,” added Hughes.
Stoke’s latest loss was made all the worse because Hughes rested players in Saturday’s 5-0 defeat by Chelsea to prepare for the potentially easier visit of Newcastle, who have now moved above them in the table.
Hughes brought back Xherdan Shaqiri and Joe Allen among six changes in the hope of sparking a performance to stem the widespread supporter unrest and halt the growing speculation about his future.
“I remind people that the reason people are disappointed is because of the high standards that have been set here and those high standards were set by me and my staff,” said 54-year-old Hughes, who has been in charge since 2013.
“So we need to do something about it. We will get on with addressing it and turning it around. That’s my make up as a person, a manager and a player.”
There was no immediate comment from Stoke chairman Peter Coates who was pictured by TV cameras looking stony-faced in the stands. Up to now, he has remained supportive of Hughes and is aware that fortunes can quickly change with only nine points separating 10th placed Watford from bottom side Swansea City.
However, former Stoke player Matthew Etherington was among those calling for Hughes’ dismissal after the latest defeat.
“It seems from the manager up to the board, there isn’t a realisation of the trouble the club are in. Time for a change,” he said.
Reporting by Neil Robinson; Editing by Ken Ferris