New Stoke City manager Mark Hughes is driven by desire to prove doubters following failure at QPR

The Welshman has been given a managerial lifeline at the Britannia Stadium

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Mark Hughes admits his decision to take the Stoke City manager's job is partly motivated by his need to "prove people wrong".

He has been appointed the new manager at the Britannia Stadium on a three-year deal, replacing Tony Pulis who resigned from the position last week. The former Wales manager attracted criticism during his previous spell at Queen's Park Rangers, which ended in November last year.

There, after leading QPR to survival on the last day of the 2011-12 season, he was seen to have signed a host of players which resulted in a squad that failed to gel – or win a game last season under his charge – and he was sacked 12 games into the campaign with the club at the bottom of the Premier League.

When asked if he now needs to rebuild his reputation, Hughes said: "Yes, possibly. I've had something like 270 games at Premier League level, and people in recent months possibly have wanted to define my managerial career on the basis of 12 games at the beginning of last season.

"I understand that, but maybe it gives me more motivation to prove people wrong.

"I have kept my counsel for six months, and haven't really come out and said my piece of the story. Now is not the time to do that, but I've listened to what people have said about my ability as a manager and I can assure everybody I will use that as a motivation to do well for Stoke."

Prior to QPR, Hughes had successful spells at Blackburn Rovers and Fulham – from where he resigned citing his desire to "further his experience as a young, ambitious manager" – and a less well-regarded period at Manchester City.

He joins Stoke with the chairman, Peter Coates, wanting the club to move on from the prosaic style of football that was the hallmark of Pulis's seven-year reign – and with a remit to promote more players from the academy. While he acknowledged the achievements of his fellow Welshman, Pulis, Hughes pledged to make the team more entertaining to watch during his time in charge.

"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 [Pulis] put things in place to make the club more stable and 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 them 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, play good football, make chances and make it entertaining for the fans who pay good money to come and see us.

"The passion and real desire from the crowd for the team is obvious."

Sparky's stats: Hughes in numbers

29.27 Hughes' win percentage as Wales manager (1999-2004), winning 12 of 41 games.

8 Victories for Hughes in 34 matches in charge of QPR.

188 Games in charge of Blackburn – his longest club reign.