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 By PA Sport

Stoke boss Hughes admits Fulham regret

Mark Hughes has admitted he made a mistake in leaving Fulham as he prepares to return to the London club with Stoke this weekend.

Mark Hughes was baffled by Stoke's poor performance against Norwich.
Mark Hughes left SW6 under a cloud.

Hughes resigned as Fulham manager in the summer of 2011, citing a desire to further his career. At the time he was heavily linked with the vacancy at Aston Villa but it was QPR where he was eventually to work next, and it proved to be a dismal experience.

The Welshman was sacked last November after just 10 chaotic months at Loftus Road with his team bottom of the Premier League. He is now hoping to revive his career at Stoke but revealed regret over his Fulham exit as he prepared for his first return to Craven Cottage.

The 49-year-old said: "I left under something of a cloud. "At the time I made the decision to leave because, given what I knew and what I thought was going to happen in the future, I couldn't commit to a new contract.

"I made the decision to leave but, with hindsight, it was probably the wrong decision. When I was there I had a few doubts over what kind of investment would be made available to strengthen the team. I interpreted that as maybe that the club didn't want to keep on progressing.

"Obviously, almost immediately after I left they started investing in good players and spending some money, so I probably got that wrong.''

Hughes spent a promising year at Fulham, guiding the team to an impressive eighth spot in the Premier League in 2010-11. He is proud of that achievement but is now focusing on his task with Stoke, where he has made an encouraging start since being appointed in the summer. The past fortnight has brought setbacks, however, with defeats to Arsenal and Norwich, and Hughes wants to get back to winning ways at his old club.

He said: "I had a great time at Fulham, there are some fantastic people there. We had a great year. We were eighth in the Premier League when I left, their second-highest position ever in the Premier League. At the time I made a decision I thought was correct but in hindsight it probably wasn't. I think most Fulham fans will feel I did well in a short amount of time.

"I don't think I have got anything to prove there. I am looking to go back there with my team now, which is Stoke, and do well. We need to get back on track.''

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