Fulham Boss Mark Hughes: Win At Stoke City Could Be Season-Defining

Welshman admits that he hasn't asked board for assurances over job safety
Mark Hughes hailed Fulham's 2-0 victory over Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium as a turning point for his side's season.

Two first half strikes from Chris Baird were enough for victory as the Cottagers grabbed their first three points on the road this season with ease, but the former Manchester City boss was quick to stress that it was a team effort, with his players all determined to turn the corner after a miserable Boxing Day defeat to West Ham.

"We came here with frustration in terms of where we sat in the league," Hughes told reporters after the game, "but that helped our focus and I thought we were immense.

"Everyone on the field was exceptional and there were big performances from every part of the team, and that's what you need in away games.

"That intensity, that resolute mindset that we haven't had, but we set the standard today — it could be a season-defining win for us."

The win away from home, Fulham's first in almost 30 attempts, was fully warranted according to the Welshman, who also admitted that he has not sought the support of the board despite the pressure from the media and fans, who were vocal in their dissent after the defeat to the Hammers.

"There's parts of our game that haven't lent themselves to enabling us to win away," said Hughes, "but I thought today every aspect of our game was spot on; we were strong and aggressive when we had to be and we fully deserved the win."

Asked whether he had sought assurances from the Fulham board concerning his job security, Hughes replied: "No, I don't think I need to. I've got great support from them."

Pushed as to his relief at passing on the pressure to someone else, Hughes was philosophical.

"This week it's been me, next week it'll be someone else," he said.

"That's the nature of the job, we all accept it. It's not nice when that focus lands at your doorstep.

"I know I've got a good group of players and when the rub of the green lands their way I know we'll have no problems this season."

It wasn't luck that earned three points, however, as Fulham dominated the first half with some slick passing and efficient pressing that prevented their opponents from building any momentum, a 45 minute period that Hughes described as "excellent".

And to cap off the performance, Baird's two goals, having not scored in nearly four years, were savagely struck from outside of the area, with his manager describing the first - a thumping half-volley - as "arguably the goal of the season."

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