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Fulham striker Bobby Zamora admits he was shocked at Mark Hughes’ decision to quit Fulham after just one season.

Hughes stepped down from his post at Craven Cottage on Thursday giving way to speculation he would replace Gerard Houllier at Aston Villa – something the Welshman later denied saying his decision was not swayed by any outside party.

And Zamora, despite being ruled out for much of the season with a broken leg, believes the players were just starting to thrive under their new boss who led them to an eighth-placed finish.

The 30-year-old striker said: “It was a total shock, him resigning. I was surprised. There was no hint of it. It leaves us waiting for another manager.

“It was going well. Everyone had bought into his ideas and were just starting to play the way he wanted.

“He has decided not to stay and we go on and try and find another manager and hope we do well.

“But Mark has got his reasons. I don’t blame him at all. It’s one of those things. Managers and players come and go.”

And although a contractual obligation to Fulham means Hughes is unable to begin negotiations over a new job until the end of this month, Zamora stressed the importance of replacing the 47-year-old as soon as possible.

With the Cottagers set to return for pre-season training on June 23 and their Europa League qualifying campaign a week later, the England international hopes the right person can be found in time.

Zamora said: “We just want the right person for the club. We are back in training on June 23rd, we’ve got a game on the 30th in the Europa League.

“It would be nice if the managerial thing is sorted before we come back. If it takes time to find the right person, then fair enough. We have to take our time and find the right person.