Mark Hughes: Stoke City boss denies he must win West Brom game to prevent sack

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'People are picking up hearsay and embellishing it'

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has denied he has one game to save his job.

The Potters are 16th in the Premier League with just one win in eight games as they prepare to host West Brom.

Some media reports have said Hughes, who joined the club in 2013, must win on Saturday or he will be sacked.

"I don't think that is where we are at. A lot of comments come from people who have not watched our games - they are picking up hearsay and embellishing it," Hughes said.

"You guys in the media set timelines on it but that is not what is happening in the corridors here in my view," added the 54-year-old Welshman.

A seventh departure? Or reprieve from local owner?

Stoke have conceded 39 goals this season - a Premier League high - but Hughes said injuries have prevented him picking a consistent back four.

The former Wales manager also claims his side has been "hurt by referee decisions", pointing to a penalty award which gave West Ham the lead in their 3-1 win at Stoke last week and later saw Manuel Lanzini banned for diving.

Hughes is odds-on favourite to be the next Premier League manager to leave his post and has said anxiety from supporters is "understandable".

However, he feels his position is strengthened by Stoke-born club owner Peter Coates being heavily involved on a day-to-day basis alongside his son John and daughter Denise.

"The owners and everyone connected with the club are fully informed," Hughes added. "They come to the game themselves. They are here every week. They are not in some far-off land watching on TV.

"They are around the club every single day. They are at the coal face. They would sense if something needs to change. It doesn't."

Should Hughes be sacked, he would become the seventh Premier League manager to depart his job before Christmas, equalling the record set in both 2004 and 2007.

Hughes succeeded Tony Pulis as Stoke manager in 2013
Hughes succeeded Tony Pulis as Stoke manager in 2013


BBC Sport's Simon Stone

Mark Hughes spoke at length on Friday about how Stoke's ownership structure meant they were better placed to make key decisions concerning their club.

When he explained that people in "far-off lands" make bad decisions because they were not fully informed, he might have been thinking of 19 December 2009.

That was the day he woke to headlines saying he was going to be sacked as Manchester City manager and replaced by Roberto Mancini.

The news was a shock to Hughes, not least because his team were playing Sunderland later that day. He was duly removed hours after the 4-3 win against the Black Cats.

Hughes may also have a point. The club are owned by local businessman Coates and his family.

Since Stoke were promoted to the Premier League in 2008, they have had only two managers.

Swansea, West Brom and Leicester, who all have overseas owners, have had 14 managers between them since Hughes was appointed in May 2013, and have all sacked the manager they started the season with.

Results will dictate whether Hughes is to remain with the Potters - but if the end does come, he will know the decision is based on solid foundations, not the whim of an owner reacting to a couple of bad results.

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