West Brom match not a must-win situation, claims Hughes

Mark Hughes is confident he is not in the last chance saloon at Stoke City despite reports suggesting the club's hierarchy are losing confidence in the manager.

Hughes' future has come under increased scrutiny at the bet365 Stadium after a run of one win in eight Premier League matches, a sequence that has seen them fall to within one point of the relegation zone.

Defeat to West Brom on Saturday would be a fourth in a row and cause them drop into the bottom three, while also forcing the Stoke owners into action according to some.

But Hughes remains defiant that his job is not under threat, and that Stoke's performances have come in for unreasonable criticism.

"No, I don't think that's where we are at," he said when asked if he had one game to save his job. "You in the media will set timelines but that's not what is happening in the corridors here in my view.

"We're in a situation where we are not where we expected to be, we all acknowledge that, but I would be more concerned if I felt the side didn't have the capabilities to get more points on the board from this point onward. We're a decent group.

"A lot of the comments come from people who haven't bothered to watch our games, they're just picking up on hearsay and elaborating and embellishing things.

"They've been committed performances, determined performances, they haven't been winning performances - that's where we need to step up and turn it around. 

"The longer it goes on the more difficult it gets but from my point of view I don't sense any apprehension about where we are. I know this group better than anybody else. Like for like results we're still ahead of the game."

And Hughes believes having a strong relationship with Stoke's owners means there is less chance of a knee-jerk reaction to their poor form.

"The owners and everyone connected to the club are fully informed," he added. "They come to the game themselves.

"They are here every week. They are not in some far-off land watching on TV.

"They are around the club every single day. They are at the coal face. They would sense if something needs to change. It doesn't."

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