Friday 15 November 2019

Hughes hails Bojan quality

Bojan Krkic's 63rd-minute strike earned Stoke victory over Leicester
Bojan Krkic's 63rd-minute strike earned Stoke victory over Leicester

Stoke manager Mark Hughes has hailed Bojan Krkic as one of his all-time great buys after watching the Spaniard again make his mark on the Barclays Premier League.

The Potters paid just £3million in the summer for striker Bojan, who has previously played for such illustrious names as Barcelona, Roma, AC Milan and Ajax.

Although the 24-year-old took time to find his feet, he has quickly learned how to adapt in English football's top flight, and as Hughes noted Stoke are now "reaping the benefits".

At the King Power Stadium, Bojan's 63rd-minute shot-on-the-turn in a 1-0 victory lit up a drab midlands derby, ending the Foxes' four-game unbeaten run and keeping them rooted to the foot of the table.

"It was a good, well-worked goal, and no more than we deserved as I felt in general play we were the more creative team," said Hughes.

"Defensively we were rock solid. In fairness we didn't have to deal with too much because ahead of them the midfield nipped things in the bud and didn't allow Leicester to gain momentum in the game."

As for the inspirational Bojan, a delighted Hughes remarked: "He's getting better every game.

"The Premier League is a strong league, and he understood that when he came, but initially he was taken aback by it.

"But he has learned very quickly, he is an intelligent player, and a very talented one as well.

"We've had to wait a little bit, but now he is up to speed and he is enjoying being part of a good team, one that looks to involve him and recognises the ability he has.

"He is thriving in this environment after feeling a little unwanted over the past two or three years, being on the edges of teams he has been involved with, but that's not the case with him here.

"Obviously he is an outstanding player, but I've also been really impressed with his personality.

"Given his career path some players' heads would have been turned, but he is very level, he has great humility, is a good professional and we're really pleased with him."

Suggested Bojan has become one of his better acquisitions, Hughes concurred, adding: "He is up there.

"The money we paid for him takes people aback I would suggest given some of the figures bandied about for other players.

"If you look at what we've got for the money we've paid then we have done really well."

After three wins and a draw in their previous four matches, by boss Nigel Pearson's own admission his Leicester side were flat, with new signing Andrej Kramaric given little to work with following his introduction two minutes after Bojan's strike.

"It was a tight game settled by one moment of stand-out quality, and we failed to create the chances we had in previous games at home," said Pearson.

The home side's best player on view was Jeff Schlupp, seemingly a surprise given his recent withdrawal from Ghana's African Nations Cup squad with a knee injury.

On the day of the tournament starting, Schlupp was creative and a thorn in the side of Stoke right-back Phil Bardsley.

Quizzed on Schlupp's inclusion, Pearson took umbrage as he said: "We said he would be out for 10 days to two weeks and that's the case.

"I don't see how it (him playing) is a surprise. I didn't pull him out of anything.

"He had scans here and was advised not to fly because of the swelling and then he went down to London to have an independent medical that was organised by the Ghanaian FA, and they came to the same conclusion as we did.

"They decided not to include him in their squad. If they've any problems then they need to look at their own administrators. It's nothing to do with me.

"What the Ghanaian FA decide to do in terms of making statements, how their administrators operate or comments the managers want to make, it's entirely up to them, but quite frankly I couldn't care less about that."

PA Media

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