Mark Hughes says he doesn't "do relegation" as he moved to assure Stoke City fans that the club would not be in a fight for their Premier League place this season.
Stoke sit 15th in the league, just three points clear of the drop zone after 17 matches and face a crucial test against second-bottom West Ham on Saturday.
The Potters have picked up just one win in their last five, leaving them fighting near the bottom of the table, but their manager insists that he's still confident in his ability to lead the club to better things.
“I don’t do relegation,” Hughes said. “There are a lot of managers who have a badge of honour that they’ve never been relegated.
“I’ve never been relegated because I’m too busy trying to get in top 10s. I’ve never been near it so I’m not going to start now, am I?”
While Hughes was sacked from QPR before the club was relegated during the 2012-13 season, he says the situation with his current team in nothing like the job he faced five years ago.
“I don’t see how it can compare,” the 54-year-old said. “We had 12 games at the start of the season when we didn’t win a game.
“We got four points out of 12 games. Here we’ve played 17 games and got 16 points. It’s not comparable.”
While Hughes is still showing confidence in his ability to manage the side, he did admit that the losses are harder to take as a coach than they were as a player.
“It’s harder as a manager because as a player you can affect things on the pitch,” he explained. “You can do something about it.
“Pressure as a player never really affected me. It was always the bigger the game the better in my view.
“As a manager it’s different. When you lose as a player you can take comfort from the fact you may have played well.
“As a manager if you get beaten you take the responsibility. You think it’s your fault and 30,000 in the stadium know it’s your fault! But you accept that and you don’t come into this business if you’re not able to deal with it.”
Stoke follow up the West Ham clash with another six-pointer against fourth bottom West Brom before Christmas to kick off a run of four matches in 10 days.