Peter Crouch says Stoke lost their identity under Mark Hughes and believes it was inevitable he would leave given recent results.
The Potters parted ways with Hughes following last Saturday's shock FA Cup third-round loss to League Two Coventry, bringing down the curtain on the Welshman's four-and-a-half years in charge at the bet365 Stadium.
Ex-England striker Crouch believes the squad need to do some soul searching having, failed to keep Hughes in a job despite admitting the Potters have been in a downward spiral for some time.
Crouch feels that having done well to guide Stoke to three successive ninth-placed finishes, Hughes had perhaps lost his way and says a change was always likely this season.
“We finished ninth three times on the spin and, for a club like this, that is a good achievement,” Crouch wrote in his Daily Mail column.
“But, for whatever reason, the last two years have seen things take a turn for the worse. We reached the lowest point last Saturday. Good luck to Coventry, they deserved it. You could say we were all bitterly disappointed but I think the best word to use is 'embarrassed', really.
“It never used to be like this. We had an identity. In previous seasons, when we faced 'must-win' games, we tended to win them but the last three that were given that title - Newcastle and West Ham at home, Coventry in the cup - all ended in defeats. The writing was on the wall."