Belfast Telegraph

Hughes backs boss as pressure mounts at Fulham

Northern Ireland captain Aaron Hughes has backed his namesake Fulham manager Mark Hughes in the absence of assurances from owner Mohamed al Fayed about the security of his job at Craven Cottage.

Fulham dropped into the relegation zone after a 3-1 home defeat by West Ham on Boxing Day that ended with some fans chanting 'Hughes out'.

Al Fayed was not at the ground to witness Hughes' humiliation, which also included a chorus of ‘You don't know what you're doing’ from supporters, but the former Harrods owner did see the game on TV.

Club sources say Al Fayed was relatively satisfied with the performance, if not the result, and is expecting to see great improvements in the team's next three games, starting today at Stoke, followed by Spurs on New Year's Day, and West Brom on January 4.

If Fulham do not win one of those three games, then Al Fayed may have to reconsider position of Hughes, who was brought in as Roy Hodgson's replacement in the summer.

The situation is considered to be very different to three years ago, when Lawrie Sanchez was sacked in December when Fulham slipped into the relegation places.

It is much tighter at the bottom of the Premier League this season, so a couple of wins will quickly improve the situation.

Hughes, who was sacked by Manchester City last December, is six months into a two-year contract, which means it would not cost the earth to terminate the agreement.

The dressing room at least came out in support of the manager with defender Aaron Hughes saying: “The most important thing for us is that we don't start pointing the finger and continue to stick together as a team.

“The confidence hasn't drained out of the side, we still believe in each other and still know we can put a lot of things right.

“We've still got a lot of togetherness and there is faith in the dressing room that we can turn it around.”

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