Stoke City forward Peter Crouch insists he did everything in his power to save Mark Hughes’ job, and from a personal standpoint doesn’t feel like he let the manager down.
Hughes had managed the Potters since 2013, before being fired earlier this month following a poor string of results culminating in the side shockingly losing 2-1 to Coventry City in the FA Cup.
Certainly no one expected things to turn out the way they did for Stoke at the beginning of the season. A 1-0 win over Arsenal in their second game of the campaign should have been the catalyst, yet the Potters are now faced with the threat of relegation as they languish in 18th place on the Premier League table,
Writing in his column for the Daily Mail, Crouch opened up on Hughes’ sacking, also claiming that he did all that was possible to help the situation.
“There is no getting away from the fact we have been in a bad run and the owners felt they needed to make a change,” he wrote.
“The first I knew about it was on Saturday night. My Dad called when I was on the way back home from Coventry and told me it was on the news. We hadn’t seen Mark since he had been in the dressing room at the Ricoh Arena and, to put it bluntly, told us exactly what he thought about us.
“So that’s when the questions started. Have you worked hard enough and run to your maximum in every game? Have you put your body in the way of things? Have you done all the things that should be expected? Everyone can have bad games but are you putting it in?
“I’m confident I can look in the mirror and say I have done everything possible. I hope other players here have asked themselves the same questions. We had some good times under Mark.”
The 36-year-old added that winning the FA Cup would have made everything a whole lot better, but the players were instead embarrassed by the fact that they’d lost to a League Two side in only the third round of the tournament.
“Winning the FA Cup – how good would that be? But there we were sitting in a silent dressing room after losing to a team from League Two,” Crouch continued.
“Good luck to Coventry, they deserved it. You could say we were all bitterly disappointed but I think the best word to use is ’embarrassed’, really.
“It never used to be like this. We had an identity. In previous seasons, when we faced ‘must win’ games, we tended to win them but the last three that were given that title — Newcastle and West Ham at home, Coventry in the Cup — all ended in defeats. The writing was on the wall.
“The sad thing is we had done well under Mark. It has always felt like we are going in the right direction, step by step. After the ninth-place finishes, we have tried to get up to the next level but, for whatever reason, it has proven unobtainable and we have fallen away.”