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Hughes Plays Down Chelsea Link, Wants Stoke Stay

Ahead of his team’s fourth round FA Cup clash against Crystal Palace on Saturday, Stoke City manager Mark Hughes says he is fully focused on continuing his success at the Britannia amid speculation that Chelsea are interested in signing him as a permanent manager.

Hughes aknowledges the fact that transfer speculation are part of the job – and hopes it rubs off on his players.

“There is always speculation. If it’s because I am performiwng well, I don’t think I was doing particularly well last weekend (when Stoke lost 3-0 at Leicester), I did better in the week. It’s the ups and downs of being a manager I suppose.

“There’s speculation about certain roles in Premier League at the moment and at some point if you have a decent spell you’ll get mentioned in dispatches. It’s no more or less than that. I think they’re trying to cover all their bases and this week I got a mention. It is what it is.”

However Hughes is still appreciative of the link to the Premier League champions.

“It’s just speculation. It’s nice to be mentioned I suppose because it reflects well maybe on me but more so on the team and the players – and that’s how it should be. We’re having a decent season.”

Hughes signed a new long-term contract until 2019 last May and reiterated he is in it for the long haul.

“We’re fully focused here. We are enjoy what we’re doing. It’s a good time to be at Stoke. Everyone feels like we’re going in the right direction,” the former Manchester United star added.

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