I am still best-placed to manage Stoke – Hughes

Mark Hughes says he is still “the best person” for the manager’s job at Stoke despite them falling to a fifth defeat in seven games against Newcastle.

Hughes’ position has been questioned after a dire run of form this season, which has seen City pick up just five wins in their first 22 games.

They are now just two places and two points above the relegation zone.

When asked if his four-and-a-half-year Stoke reign was under threat, Hughes replied: “Who else is going to do it?”

“In terms of the knowledge of the group and the progress in my time here, I’m the best person to do it,” he added.

“The players are frustrated, disappointed, but that’s a consequence of the high standards that I’ve set here.”

Stoke’s total of 20 points after 22 games this season is their worst haul at this stage of a top-flight campaign since 1984-85, when they had just 11 points.

Monday’s loss came after Hughes had rested a number of key players for the 5-0 thrashing by Chelsea on Saturday, citing these as “necessary” in light of the game against Newcastle.

But his gamble failed to pay off as his side delivered another lacklustre performance with Ayoze Perez’s goal giving Newcastle a narrow victory.

In a must-win match, Joe Allen, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Xherdan Shaqiri were all bought back into the starting XI but Stoke failed to record a response.

“We knew it was an important game but we came up short. We deserved something out of it but we didn’t get it,” added Hughes.

“Everyone’s saying that I gambled but I used the players that I had, what was I going to do? Risk players that had a big part to play today?

“Plenty of teams have made changes, everyone else is doing it.”

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