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Last Updated: Monday, 22 May 2006, 17:31 GMT 18:31 UK
Hughes shocked by Dowie departure
By Simon Austin

Michael Hughes (l) and Iain Dowie
Hughes (l) was shocked to see Dowie leave Palace
Crystal Palace midfielder Michael Hughes has been left stunned by Iain Dowie's departure from Selhurst Park.

Dowie has left Palace by mutual consent after two-and-a-half years as manager.

And Hughes told BBC Sport: "I am shocked. We had been talking about our assault on the Championship next season and what we all had to do.

"This is completely out of the blue and I am sad to see Iain go. He is a good manager and we have had some good times under him - he will be missed."

Dowie met with his players in the aftermath of Palace's play-off semi-final defeat by Watford on 9 May.

Hughes explained: "We met about four or five days later and had a good chat with one another. Iain had a few words with us individually and there was no sign of this.

"In fact it was the opposite. It was about coming back here ready for work on 4 July.

"We spoke about what we had to improve on and what was expected of the players, the management team and the coaches.

"Whoever comes in as a new manager will certainly get 100% backing of me and all the other players - there will be no doubt about that."
Michael Hughes

"It wasn't a knee-jerk meeting, everyone had had time to take stock of everything and let the emotion die down a little bit so it was not a heat of the moment thing."

Hughes, 34, will miss Dowie's influence and has enjoyed playing under his former Northern Ireland team-mate.

"For me he has been brilliant," he added.

"He played me every week which is all you can ask as a player and put a special fitness regime in place for me personally because I was a tad older than the other guys.

"I am really going to have to sit down and take stock of the whole situation. I will give Iain a call at some point in the next couple of days and find out how he is."

But the former Manchester City, Wimbledon and West Ham winger says he remains committed to the Eagles' cause, no matter who replaces Dowie in the Selhurst Park hotseat.

Hughes said: "The priority is to get Palace back into the Premiership.

"As players we are employees of the club and we will go out on the pitch and give 100% no matter who is in charge.

"Whoever comes in as a new manager will certainly get 100% backing of me and all the other players - there will be no doubt about that."

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