Hughes to be patient with Bojan
Published 25/08/2014 | 13:36
Stoke manager Mark Hughes is ready to be patient as he attempts to get the best out of summer signing Bojan Krkic.
The arrival of Bojan at the Britannia Stadium was seen as something of an unexpected coup for Potters boss Mark Hughes.
At 23, the forward has played for Barcelona, Roma, AC Milan and Ajax but has too often struggled to deliver on his early promise.
Nonetheless, he was welcomed as a potential game-changer by Stoke fans given his European pedigree.
But, after playing 90 minutes in the defeat by Aston Villa on the opening day of the season, he was relegated to the bench for Sunday's 1-1 draw at Hull.
Hughes preferred a starting XI with more Barclays Premier League experience at the KC Stadium, with Peter Odemwingie and Marko Arnautovic supporting central striker Mame Diouf.
Bojan was summoned shortly before half-time after an injury to Glenn Whelan and, though he was brushed aside with ease in the build-up to Hull's opening goal, he went on to provide the key cross that led to Ryan Shawcross' equaliser.
Hughes admits his star signing was left out for tactical reasons but expects him to be at his best and making a case for regular selection soon.
"The thinking with the team was that it was a difficult away fixture - a lot of teams come to Hull and struggle to get anything - so we just thought this was a situation where we needed to be nice and solid in midfield, with a strong, experienced middle three," said Hughes.
"At the moment we're just trying to bring everyone up to the correct level, then shirts are up for grabs.
"I was going to make a change in the second half anyway (before Whelan's injury), we needed to take one of the defensive midfield players off and get Bojan on.
"It was difficult to find him, we were a little bit out of sorts, but I thought he did okay. He showed glimpses of what he'll give us this year."
Stoke might have left East Yorkshire with nothing, despite playing most of the game with a numerical advantage following James Chester's 14th-minute red card.
They were frequently outbattled by Hull but managed to level seven minutes from time when Shawcross bundled over the line from point-blank range.
There was a moment of confusion when referee Jonathan Moss appeared to be waiting for confirmation from his goal-line technology watch, but an alert linesman had already spotted the ball crossing.
"I knew it was over the line but obviously the watches didn't work and the linesman had to give it, an old-fashioned goal," said Shawcross.
Tigers manager Steve Bruce was vexed by a wrongly awarded Stoke throw-in in the build-up to the equaliser, but left impressed with how close his side came to winning the match against the odds.
"How could I not be pleased?," he said.
"We've only been a year in the Premier League and we're disappointed we haven't beaten Stoke with 10 men.
"So of course I'm pleased but it could have been a wonderful start to the season with six points.
"We looked very, very comfortable. We looked as if we would see it through."