Mark Hughes has rejected the suggestion that he is about to be sacked if his Stoke side lose to West Brom on Saturday.
Stoke have lost five of their last six Premier League games and sit just a point outside the relegation places going into the Christmas weekend, but the manager believes his side has the capabilities to get themselves out of trouble and says he is planning for the January transfer window in spite of the speculation about his future.
Hughes said: “I don’t think that is where we are at to be perfectly honest. The media will set time lines and time tables on it, but that is not what is happening within the corridors here in my view.
“We are not where we expected to be, that’s fair to say, and I think we all acknowledge that. But I would be more concerned if I felt the side didn’t have the capability of getting points on the board from this point on.”
‘A lot of comments come from people who are not even bothered to watch our games. It’s things they have heard and they have embellished things.
‘The longer it goes on, clearly the more difficult it gets, but I don’t sense any apprehension about where we are in terms of the players themselves.
‘I know this group better than anybody else and I know we have got the capability of picking up points. Before the West Ham game, like-for-like results we were ahead.
‘We are a good Premier League team and a great Premier League club, and have been for a long time, and that’s how we expect it to remain.’ Stoke are on a run of five defeats from six Premier League games to lie 17th in the table and one point above the relegation zone.
But Mark Hughes said Stoke’s local owners know the game and recognise the value of stability. ‘The owners have been in the game a long time and understand it’s not an easy role in terms of the managerial position,’ he said. ‘And they understand football is not a straight line.