Kenwyne Jones has revealed he would have left Stoke City in the summer if Tony Pulis had not been replaced as manager.
• Whittaker: Plenty of positives
Jones believes several of his team-mates would also have sought to leave the Britannia Stadium if Pulis’ seven-year reign had not come to an end.
Pulis left by mutual consent at the end of last season and was replaced by Mark Hughes, and Jones believes it was a crucial move.
The Trinidad and Tobago striker told Sky Sports News: “The atmosphere at the club, and the entire squad could testify to it, wasn't good. The things that we were doing, and the way that we were playing football, it was not encouraging for a lot of us.
“You would probably not have seen a lot of the players at the club if the situation had remained the same, but things can change sometimes pretty quickly in football. You just have to sometimes weather the storm.”
Jones, who was also involved in a bizarre training ground row last season when a pig's head was found in his dressing-room locker, has been given a fresh start under Hughes.
He has started the last four games and has been delighted with the change of philosophy under the new management.
“We are able to express ourselves and be free. Now we can try things as footballers and that’s the only way to improve as a footballer," he said. “You are not restricted into that regiment of ‘sky’ football. Before, it was more or less hit and hope and I think my team-mates could testify to that.
“In the past it was very hard to come by chances and if you look at our record of shots on goal and goals scored, it was probably the lowest because we weren’t playing the type of football to create chances.”
Jones also claims no-one should be surprised that players at the club last season are now able to adapt to a greater passing game under Hughes.
“We weren’t allowed to play in the last regime, which was a waste of talent. We have a lot of internationals and good football players and so it was quite easy to make the change," he said.
“It’s not like the old days where we would go on the road and hope. I think people are surprised by the way we are playing football.
“We are quite confident now, but we do have to show that from the first minute to the last.
“I would be disappointed if we don’t finish in the top ten, knowing the potential we have and seeing the way we have played from the beginning of the season so far.
“I think we have had a squad that could produce the type of football that could produce results, but it wasn’t on display for the last two years. Now we have the chance under a new philosophy to express ourselves.
“You don’t have to hear it from me -- just watch the games and training to see how we go about our jobs.”