Press Association

Mark Hughes has been sacked as manager of Stoke City, just hours after the club’s FA Cup third-round exit at the hands of League Two side Coventry City.

A run of five defeats in seven Premier League games also contributed to Hughes’ departure and he leaves with the club in the relegation zone.

Hughes, 54, had been in charge of the Potters for four and a half years.

Stoke, who play Manchester United on 15 January, say they will “look to appoint a new manager as soon as possible”.

Hughes is the sixth manager to be dismissed in the Premier League this season.

A section of Stoke fans called for him to leave and held up banners throughout the 2-1 defeat at the Ricoh Arena.

After the game, the Welshman said he did not think the defeat changed the situation regarding his future and said it “might be a blessing” for the rest of the season.

Hughes, a former Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, Fulham and QPR boss, succeeded Tony Pulis at Stoke in May 2013.

He guided the club to three straight ninth-placed finishes, dropping to 13th last season.

Hughes rested players as Stoke lost 5-0 at Chelsea on 30 December, saying they were focusing on the Newcastle game on New Year’s Day.

But a 1-0 defeat by the Magpies, who were a point worse off than their opponents before kick-off, put more pressure on Hughes.

Stoke have conceded five goals or more in three Premier League games this season and have let in a total of 47 goals – nine more than the second-worst tally, held by West Ham.

The 5-1 defeat by Tottenham at Wembley on 9 December prompted angry fans to confront the Stoke players at the city’s railway station.

After that game, Hughes said there had been “an undercurrent” through his time at the club from fans who were against his appointment.

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