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Hughes regrets decision to leave Fulham

ESPN staff
October 3, 2013 « Hart is still my No. 1 - Hodgson | Chartbeat test »
Mark Hughes admits to enjoying his time at Fulham © Getty Images
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Mark Hughes has admitted for the first time that he made a mistake in walking out on Fulham over two years ago.

Hughes will return to Craven Cottage this weekend with his new club Stoke City and will dredge up memories of his acrimonious departure from the club in June 2011.

The Welshman turned down the possibility to sign a new two-year contract with then-owner Mohammed Al Fayed and chose to activate break clause in his deal - before he eventually ended up in his ill-fated alliance with Queens Park Rangers.

Hughes has spoken at length about his problems at QPR, but has also admitted that he may not have become embroiled in the mess at Loftus Road, if he had remained working with Al Fayed.

"In hindsight I should not have left Fulham when I did. That is something I have thought about. I had such a fantastic time at the club and I felt that we had a great season," said Hughes.

"We finished eighth in the Premier League and we had some good times. I view my team there as a success. I hope that most Fulham fans think that too, but I don't feel that I have anything to prove to them."

Al Fayed, the Fulham chairman, was furious after Hughes activated the break clause and tendered his resignation and now the Welshman's successor Martin Jol is finding himself under pressure after a poor start to the season.

Suggestions have already begun that Fulham's new owner Shahid Khan is considering making a change and Martin O'Neill has been linked as a possible successor to the Dutchman.

Hughes is aware of the rumours flying around concerning Jol's future, but he is more concerned about repairing the damage caused by last Sunday's 1-0 home defeat by Norwich City and has stressed again there is no rift in his dressing room, after suggestions of a bust-up between Ryan Shawcross and Kenwyne Jones.

"No rift between Kenwyne and Ryan happened. I don't know why the reporter wrote what he did and I am more interested in putting things right with a good result," said Hughes.

"It was disappointing not to reach the levels we had reached earlier in the season and we need to put that right.

"There is a sense of disappointment in the air with the players, but they are a good group and we want to look forward and put things right, but we are under no illusions that it will be difficult."

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