A loss in the Third Round of the 2017-18 FA Cup was it for manager Mark Hughes at Stoke City. Hughes lost his job following the 2-1 loss at Coventry City. Stoke City is currently 18th in the Premier League table, tied on points with 17th-place Southampton and four points ahead of 19th-place West Brom and 20th-place Swansea City. Stoke plays Manchester United in their next Premier League game on January 15. That break in their schedule gives the club time to try to reset.
"Stoke City can confirm that the contract of manager Mark Hughes has been terminated with immediate effect," the club released in a statement. "We would like to thank Mark for all he has achieved for the Club over the last four and a half years, notably in guiding us to three successive ninth places finishes in the Premier League, and we wish him every success for the future."
Where this leaves the next manager is trying for enough of a turnaround to avoid a relegation battle from the relegation places. That means enough of a points buffer to make an obvious relegation threat some other club's problem. Whoever does take the Stoke City job might make some time to consider Hughes's comments following their FA Cup exit.
“We have frailties and they were evident once more this afternoon,” Hughes said. It is disappointing because it is the same things happening week in week out, and it isn’t down to the fact that we aren’t trying to rectify them. Maybe we aren’t taking things in as well as we need to be, so that has to be addressed - we aren’t recognising situations and nipping them in the bud when we have opportunities to do so. It is disappointing us and it is affecting us at the moment, because we are in a difficult situation and we need to get out of it as soon as we possibly can. Today highlights the fact that we are in a relegation battle and we have frailties which we have simply got to rectify as quickly as possible.”
From a player perspective, what gets elite athletes to this level is the ability to compartmentalize and look at what's in front of them. There's also the other examples in this Premier League season where teams made a change and saw results. Crystal Palace, Leicester City, and West Ham United all improved under new management. That hasn't worked out as well for the teams behind Stoke City in the table. West Brom made their change on November 20 with Swansea City making yet another managerial change a month later.
The LA Times' Kevin Baxter interviews interim USMNT coach Dave Sarachan. The Washington Post's Steven Goff updates the situation with the USMNT coaching staff. The NASL announced a switch to their schedule dropping the two seasons per year in favor of the international calendar.
The Daily Mail's Lee Clayton with a behind the scenes look at Philippe Coutinho's transfer from Liverpool to Barcelona. FC Yahoo's Henry Bushnell on how Liverpool will replace Coutinho. The Guardian's Sid Lowe reports from the Seville derby. Football 365's John Nicholson isn't a fan of instant replay, in use in today's FA Cup game. ESPN FC's Mark Ogden on Arsenal's issues. Bundesliga Fanatic's Brook Genene looks at Twitter use by Bundesliga clubs.
"My wife told me that if I score a hat-trick this year I get a dog, so I was trying to get the penalty..." 😂— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 7, 2018
Eric Lichaj scored what's sure to be one of the goals of the tournament, but you can't help but feel heartbroken for him with this revelation 😭😂 pic.twitter.com/z4ACTMRG3c
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