Peter Crouch says Stoke lost their identity under Mark Hughes and believes it was inevitable he would leave given recent results.

Writing on the wall for Hughes - Crouch

Writing on the wall for Hughes - Crouch

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."