Hughes hoping for swift Fulham return

Mark Hughes spoke of his sympathy for his former club Fulham after Stoke City consigned them to relegation with a resounding 4-1 win.

Hughes was in charge for one of the 13 consecutive seasons Fulham have spent in the top flight, but the Welshman masterminded Stoke's comfortable victory at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday, which means the London club will play in the Championship next season.

Goals from Peter Odemwingie, Marko Arnautovic, Oussama Assaidi and Jonathan Walters gave Stoke a win that equalled their club record of 47 points in the Premier League.

The victory ensured they also remain on course for their first top-10 finish in the Premier League, while Hughes' former employers must face up to life in the second tier.

And the former Wales striker, who walked out on Fulham at the end of the 2010-11 campaign, hopes to see the Craven Cottage outfit back in the top flight sooner rather than later.

He said: "I''ve seen a number of people that worked really hard for me when I was at Fulham and obviously they're very upset at the moment.

"You don't like to see people who you've worked with go through that, but it's an unforgiving league unfortunately and you have to get the job done, which we have been able to and unfortunately Fulham haven't.

"There's a lot of good people there and good staff that helped me a great deal, so I hope they bounce back quickly."

Stoke dominated the game from start to finish and could have won by a significantly more emphatic margin.

Hughes expressed his pride that his side, who travel to West Brom for their final game last Sunday, are on the verge of breaking new ground in his first season in charge.

He said: "With Fulham coming here in their predicament it was deemed as a game that we didn't have anything to play for and it was all about Fulham.

"But we knew ourselves what we wanted to achieve today and what we wanted to get out of the game and that was obviously three points.

"We've matched the biggest total that Stoke have had in the Premier League and we've still got a game to go, so that was the order of the day.

"It was about making sure we played well for the fans and put in a good display in our last home game, and get three points and we were able to achieve every one of those."