LONDON: 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 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”.
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 – his 200th in all competitions as Stoke manager – Hughes 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 and was the fourth longest-serving manager at a Premier League club.
The Welshman guided Stoke to three straight ninth-placed finishes, dropping to 13th last season.
Jack Grimmer scored the winner for the Sky Blues after Charlie Adam’s penalty had brought Stoke level following Jordan Willis’ opener.
Albion win at last
West Bromwich claimed their first win in 22 matches as Salomon Rondon and Jay Rodriguez netted in a 2-0 victory at League Two Exeter.
A late Steve Cook goal salvaged a replay for Bournemouth against League One leaders Wigan, who had led 2-1 at the Vitality Stadium until the 92nd minute.
Watford have lost six of their past seven Premier League games but were too strong for the Championship’s fourth-placed side Bristol City as Andre Carrillo, Troy Deeney and Etienne Capoue scored the goals in a 3-0 win.
Premier League leaders Manchester City remain unbeaten in domestic competition this season after they came from behind to beat fellow top-flight side Burnley, with Sergio Aguero netting twice in the 4-1 win.
Jamie Vardy watched from the stands as his former side Fleetwood earned a replay at Leicester, courtesy of a 0-0 draw at Highbury Stadium.
In the other lunchtime game on Saturday, Middlesbrough saw off north-east rivals Sunderland thanks to goals from Rudy Gestede and Martin Braithwaite.
Newcastle are through to the fourth round after Ayoze Perez scored twice in a 3-1 win over League Two Luton.
Huddersfield and Southampton are also through, following victories at Championship sides Bolton and Fulham respectively – but there was a shock at Villa Park where Peterborough came from behind to beat in-form Aston Villa 3-1.
There was a red card apiece as Championship leaders Wolves drew 0-0 with the Premier League’s bottom side Swansea. Ruben Vinagre was dismissed for Wolves in the first half, with Leroy Fer sent off for the visitors in the second, but neither side could find a goal.
Unfortunately, there were some notably low home crowds in the day’s FA Cup third-round ties, with only 7,623 at Birmingham’s 1-0 over Burton, 6,314 in attendance for QPR’s 0-1 defeat to MK Dons and 14,199 inside Coventry’s 32,000-capacity Ricoh Arena to witness the triumph over Stoke.
Costa sent off
In Spain, Diego Costa had an eventful afternoon in Atletico Madrid’s 2-0 La Liga win over Getafe.
The former Chelsea striker was booked in the 62nd minute and scored in the 68th before jumping into the crowd to celebrate and earning his second caution, followed by a red card.
A week after securing their first league win of the season in Italy’s Serie A, Benevento made it back-to-back triumphs by coming from behind to defeat 10-man Sampdoria 3-2, while Ciro Immobile scored four goals as Lazio hammered SPAL 5-2 to take fourth place in the table.