Fulham v Stoke City: Mark Hughes on familiar ground as he returns to Craven Cottage

The Welshman admits he made a mistake leaving the Cottagers in 2011

Mark Hughes believes he has found a club similar in spirit to Fulham as he prepares to return to Craven Cottage with Stoke this weekend.

Hughes resigned as Fulham manager in the summer of 2011 in the hope of furthering his career but now admits he made a mistake.

The Welshman's next employment came at QPR in a dismal and chaotic 10-month spell that culminated in his sacking.

He is now bidding to resurrect his managerial career at the Britannia Stadium and feels comfortable in surroundings that remind him of Fulham.

The 49-year-old said: "In terms of the club and the people they are very similar - top quality people, good people to work for.

"They are clubs that are trying to be in the top half of the Premier League, that is what we are trying to do and Fulham will be trying to do that again.

"They are clubs that have established themselves for a long time in the Premier League now.

"You reap the benefits of that in terms of being able to invest and move forward. That's what Fulham and Stoke have done."

Hughes has made an encouraging start with the Potters and has earned praise for the style his side have played in, contrasting with the direct and physical game typically associated with them.

The past fortnight has brought setbacks however with defeats to Arsenal and, of more concern to Hughes, Norwich.

Hughes said: "We didn't really see that coming. Until that point we had been very good in terms of performance level.

"We didn't hit anything like the levels we had before.

"It was a disappointment but in the Premier League the games come thick and fast and we have an opportunity now to put that right against Fulham."

Hughes has not been back to Craven Cottage since his departure from the club but clearly still has affection for the London outfit.

He expects a tough game there and is surprised Fulham have started the season poorly, having collected just four points from their opening six Barclays Premier League games.

Hughes said: "They had a disappointing result, like we did, last time out but we are under no illusions that it won't be a difficult fixture for us.

"Fulham's home form in the last few seasons has been really strong.

"I don't really know why they haven't been able to knock results out at home.

"Craven Cottage is one of the great football grounds of the Premier League, it's got its own unique atmosphere and that has helped Fulham in the past.

"But at the beginning of the season there are a lot of disruptions and the league hasn't really settled down yet, with international breaks and the transfer window.

"Fulham are one of many teams that will think things will settle for them and they can continue to progress and move forward.

"We have played well in our away games - Arsenal, without getting a result, and at West Ham, where we were excellent.

"So our trips to London have been okay to this point. We hope we get another positive result."

One difference Hughes will notice at Craven Cottage is that the unpopular statue of Michael Jackson has now been removed.

Hughes was manager when then chairman Mohamed Al Fayed had his controversial sculpture of the late singer erected, but new owner Shahid Khan has taken it down.

Hughes said: "That was a personal thing from the previous owner and it was something that was important to him. I think we should always respect that.

"But it was never really embraced by the fans at Fulham and they're probably pleased that it is no longer there."


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk