Mark Hughes admits mistakes at Queens Park Rangers and promises to make Stoke City 'more entertaining' with three-year deal as new manager
The former QPR, Fulham and Manchester City manager returns to the Premier League
Mark Hughes expressed his gratitude to Stoke City today after the club looked beyond his disastrous spell at QPR and gave him a three-year deal to become the new manager at the Britannia Stadium.
The former striker also promised fans a more entertaining style of football.
The Welshman quickly became the favourite to fill the vacancy after Tony Pulis' seven-year rein was ended earlier this month and it was confirmed this morning that he had been made the new manager.
"I'm absolutely delighted to get the opportunity," Hughes said at a press conference.
"The Coates family have given me this opportunity and I'm really grateful. I'm pleased they have done their due diligence and looked beyond my last position and taken my career as a manager as a whole. I have the opportunity to work with good people.
"With the passion in the area, this is very much a local club that's close to its community. The passion and real desire from the crowd for the team is obvious."
Hughes had been out of work since November last year after he was sacked by QPR having failed to win a single game in the league. The former Manchester United and Barcelona striker looked to defend his spell at Loftus Road when speaking today, although admitted to making some mistakes.
"It was difficult at QPR and a lot of managers have gone in there and found it difficult," Hughes said.
"Their turnover of managers, not just in the last 18 months, but historically has been high. It was difficult and mistakes were made.
"I made mistakes which I learned from but I felt I was given the task of keeping them in the Premier League which I managed to do.
"I had 17 games to do that and 12 games later I lost my job.
"It was a difficult situation with a lot of chances and if we are honest with ourselves we tried to run before we could walk.
"From my point of view it's all about the here and now and moving Stoke forward."
The decision to remove Pulis as manager had much to do with the negative style of football the club had become associated with. Premier League stability was not enough for some fans who will be pleased to hear Hughes plans to make changes on that front.
"It's a big decision that has been made and I understand the success Tony had enables me to have a better chance," Hughes added.
"He's put things in place to make the club more stable and is conducive to being in the Premier League and I will reap the benefits of that.
"Stoke have been in the Premier League for a number of years now and have the understanding of what it takes to win Premier League games.
"It's not a case of wiping away the hard work of previous seasons. I'd like to make then a little bit more offensive but we're not going to chuck the baby out with the bathwater. It's about steady progress.
"Sometimes you get labelled with a certain way of playing. I can only take the club forward as I know and my philosophy is to play football, the play good football, make chances and make it entertaining for the fans who pay good money to come and see us."
Stoke chairman Peter Coates explained his decision to pick Hughes as the replacement for the long-serving Pulis.
"We've analysed to death Mark's career and we can you everything about it, what he's done and what he hasn't done," Coates said.
"His CV is very impressive and he's the right fit for us. We have analysed everything he has done and think he has an outstanding record as a football manager.
"The way we've looked at it, we look at Fulham and Blackburn in particular. We think they are in similar in many ways to us, well-run football clubs and we think he will be coming to Stoke City in the same kind of environment and we believe he will be just what we are looking for."
Coates called Hughes' spell at QPR a "blip" but moved to put it in context.
"The way we have looked at QPR, they had new ownership, new people working on the admin side of the club, new executives. Football is difficult when you have been around a long time like I have and your club has got lots of experience. They didn't have that," Coates said.
"They had three exceptional managers; Neil Warnock, Mark and Harry Redknapp and I don't think anyone would argue that they aren't pretty solid, good managers who knew what they were doing.
"I would remind people that Mark, in his first year at QPR, they changed managers because things weren't going right and Mark came in and he did save them from relegation.
"That's how we've seen QPR and we have focused on what is right for us.
"Like any club we want to move forward and we think Mark is the right person to do that."
In choosing Hughes, Stoke have again gone for a Welsh manager, with Hughes having also coached the national side - his first post at the end of a successful playing career.
As an uncompromising striker Hughes played for the likes of Manchester United, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, scoring over 200 goals.
In the dugout, having guided Wales to a World Cup qualifying play-off, he headed back to former club Blackburn where he impressed by earning a European spot.
Manchester City came calling in June 2008 as a result but he was unable to deliver tangible success despite a heavy period of investment and was sacked in December 2009.
Fulham offered him a route back into football in the summer of 2010 and he guided them to eighth in his first season before resigning, citing a desire to better himself.
His next job was at QPR, though, and he took over a side looking to stay in the Premier League at the first attempt. He managed to achieve that after replacing Neil Warnock in January 2012, but was sacked 11 months later after failing to move the side away from the bottom of the table despite healthy backing in the transfer market.
Stoke will be hoping Hughes can carry on the work done by fellow countryman Pulis, who left the Britannia Stadium last week with the best wishes of the club after a successful spell.
He guided them into the Premier League and stabilised them as a top-flight side for four successive seasons. But despite an FA Cup Final appearance some fans had grown tired of what they considered a dated style of football and a parting of ways occurred once the season had ended.
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