MARK HUGHES insists he has nothing to prove as he prepares to return to his former club Fulham and is solely focussed on plotting Stoke City’s return to form after their setback at the hands of Norwich.
The Potters are looking to bounce back from last Sunday’s 1-0 defeat as they head to Craven Cottage for tomorrow’s Premier League encounter.
Hughes spent a season in charge of Fulham and admits he was wrong to quit the club in 2011 after guiding them to their second highest top flight finish.
The Welshman has not been back to Craven Cottage as a manager since but is relishing the prospect of doing so with Stoke.
“I’m looking forward to going back there with Stoke and doing well because we need to get back on track,” he told www.stokecityfc.com.
“Fulham had a disappointing result last time out like we did, so we’re under no illusions that it won’t be a difficult fixture for us but we’ve played well in our away games.
“We didn’t get a result at Arsenal but we certainly put in a good performance and at West Ham we were excellent and won that game. Our trips to London have been okay up to this point and we hope we get another positive display – and result – at Fulham.”
Fulham finished eighth under Hughes in 2010-11 but he quit the club over concerns about future investment in the squad.
He adds: “I left under somewhat of a cloud; I made the decision at the time to leave the club because given what I knew and what I felt at the time I couldn’t commit to a new contract.
“I had a few doubts as to what kind of investment would be made available to strengthen the team and I interpreted that as maybe the club didn’t want to keep on progressing; that’s why I left.
“Almost immediately after I left they started investing in good players and spending significant amounts of money, so I probably got that wrong.
“We had finished eighth and on that basis, I view my time there as a success. I made a decision that at the time I felt was correct but, with hindsight, it probably wasn’t. However, I don’t feel as though I’ve got anything to prove.”
The shine was taken off Stoke’s bright start to the season under Hughes with last weekend’s home defeat by Norwich when they slipped well below the high standards they had set in their opening five league games.
Hughes added: “We didn’t really see it coming in terms of a performance because up to that point, save for the first half against Crystal Palace early on in the season, we’d been very good.
“We’ve talked through what happened last Sunday against Norwich and have a good idea of why it happened but in terms of performance level, we didn’t hit anything like the levels we’d been at before.
“The thing about the Premier League is games come thick and fast and we’ve got another opportunity now to put that right against Fulham.”