Stoke manager Mark Hughes plays down reported Chelsea interest
By Lyall Thomsa
Last Updated: 28/01/16 6:09pm
Mark Hughes has played down reports that he is in contention to become the next manager of Chelsea, insisting he is "very happy" at Stoke.
A report in the Guardian claimed Hughes - a former Chelsea striker - is under consideration to be the permanent successor to Jose Mourinho when temporary boss Guus Hiddink leaves the club in the summer.
Hughes is on a list that also includes Diego Simeone, Antonio Conte and Massimiliano Allegri, according to the broadsheet newspaper.
But the 52-year-old, who once managed Manchester City, said: "There is a little bit of speculation about certain roles in the Premier League at the moment and, at some point, if you have a decent spell, you get mentioned.
"I think it is no more and no less than that. I think everyone just tries to cover all bases and mentions everybody, and this week I got a mention.
"It's nice to be mentioned I suppose, because that reflects well on me, but more so on the players and how well they are doing, which is how it should be because we are having a decent season.
"But we are fully focused here and enjoying what we are doing. It is a good time to be at Stoke. Everybody feels we are going in the right direction and building something. So I'm very happy."
Hughes was speaking ahead of Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round trip to Crystal Palace, where Stoke will be without midfielder Charlie Adam with a calf injury.
Marko Arnautovic will have his condition checked after taking some knocks on Tuesday, while Geoff Cameron (ankle) remains sidelined.
There was more positive news regarding captain Ryan Shawcross, who had been ruled out for up to a month earlier this week by a back problem.
"He feels a lot better and the injury seems to be settling down," Hughes said of the defender. "Initially we said three to four weeks, but hopefully it will be sooner than that."