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Mark Hughes' agent has denied that he left Fulham to walk straight into another job, and insisted that the move was purely because the Cottagers were unable to match his ambitions.

• Hughes quits
• Fulham blog: The guessing game

Hughes' resignation last week led to immediate speculation that he would replace Gerard Houllier at Aston Villa, and he has since been linked with a return to Chelsea, who he played for, in tandem with Guus Hiddink.

Kia Joorabchian has been quick to make it clear that Hughes has not stabbed Fulham in the back by walking out, using a break clause which Fulham agreed to 12 months ago, as there have been no talks with other clubs.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme: ''As a manager he has ambitions to really compete at the top level and be the best he can.

''[Fulham] are where they are. They are a great top-10, mid-table club and I think Mark really wants to be right up there competing in the Champions League positions, up there competing for titles. He'd like to win some cups.

''[The timing] was an unfortunate circumstance. The timing of the situation was such there were a couple of vacancies available. It had nothing to do with it whatsoever. You all realise Mark Hughes is a sincere man. He wouldn't do that.

''He sat down and thought about it and thought if he signs a two-year contract now and they go and buy players in the transfer market, but all the time looking over his shoulder thinking 'well if a bigger job comes along, a top-four club or maybe a place in Portugal, Spain, Germany, Italy that allows him to compete...' then he'd be sort of keen to move and that would be unfair to Fulham.

''He wanted to tell them and give them plenty of time. There was no better time to do so than at the end of the season. This has nothing to do with Aston Villa or Chelsea or any other club. Mark Hughes made decision to leave Fulham purely and simply because he didn't want to commit two years then look over his shoulder and disappoint them by leaving in the middle of his contract.

''There's a vacancy there [at Chelsea] but I'm sure they have their own planning. We have not spoken to them. They have not spoken to us.

''It's a club he has played for so he knows the club well but it would be disrespectful of us to say 'yes, we'd like to go there' or here or whatever. It's a case of Mark sitting on the sidelines and seeing what opportunities there will be throughout Europe.''

Fulham striker Bobby Zamora has revealed his surprise at Hughes's decision to quit.

Zamora said: ''It was a total shock, him resigning. I was surprised. There was no hint of it. It leaves us waiting for another manager. It was going well. Everyone had bought into his ideas and were just starting to play the way he wanted.

''He has decided not to stay and we go on and try and find another manager and hope we do well. But Mark has got his reasons. I don't blame him at all. It's one of those things. Managers and players come and go.

''We just want the right person for the club. We are back in training on June 23, we've got a game on the 30th in the Europa League. It would be nice if the managerial thing is sorted before we come back. If it takes time to find the right person, then fair enough. We have to take our time and find the right person.''


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