Hughes - Fulham lacked ambition

Welshman outlines reasons for leaving Craven Cottage in the summer

Mark Hughes: Stepped down as Fulham manager as he did not feel the club matched his ambition

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Mark Hughes insists concerns over Fulham's ambition were behind his decision to leave as manager and not because he was hoping to secure the Aston Villa job.

The Welshman left Craven Cottage in the summer following just one season in charge after deciding not to take up an option to extend his contract.

Reports suggested the former Manchester City boss had quit the post in order to put himself in contention to succeed Gerard Houllier at Villa.

However, Hughes is adamant that was never the case and outlined the reasons why he felt it was the right decision to walk away from Fulham.

Not jumping ship

"The assumption that I was jumping ship because I had another job to jump into was wrong," Hughes told several newspapers.

"Fulham were probably a bit too honest with me. They were saying, 'We know exactly what you're about, Mark, but really we are just quite happy to stay in the Premier League'."

Mark Hughes

Quotes of the week

"That was not the case because it was never there for me. People assumed I was hoping to get the Aston Villa job but that was never the case.

"I simply felt my ambition for where I wanted to take the club was not being matched. Historically, Fulham were a club who were happy to be in the Premier League and that was their ambition. But it was not my ambition for them.

"Conversations I was having about players I wanted to bring in were not going well. I read that as them maybe not wanting to keep Fulham in the top half of the Premier League.

"There was the date of June 1 (when his contract needed to be renewed) and the closer it got, the less inclined I was to sign it because it would have meant me committing further than the one year I had left.

"I had real concerns about the age of certain players and I came to the conclusion that it would be better just to shake hands and walk away.

"Fulham were probably a bit too honest with me. They were saying, 'We know exactly what you're about, Mark, but really we are just quite happy to stay in the Premier League'."