Monday 11 November 2019

Hughes: We are still going strong

Mark Hughes hailed the 'resolve' and 'determination' of his Stoke side
Mark Hughes hailed the 'resolve' and 'determination' of his Stoke side

Stoke boss Mark Hughes revelled in the Potters silencing their critics both on the pitch and in the stands during Saturday''s victory over Southampton.

Hughes revealed earlier this week that Stoke's chances of qualifying for Europe via the Fair Play League were being harmed because their fans regularly sing Tom Jones' 1968 hit 'Delilah'.

The Stoke manager said UEFA did not take kindly to the chanting of the song as it apparently created an intimidating atmosphere at the Britannia Stadium.

The Stoke supporters defied UEFA and belted out the chant on Saturday and their team also upset the odds by beating one of the top teams in the league.

Morgan Schneiderlin put Saints ahead in the first half, but Stoke hit back through Mame Diouf after the break and Charlie Adam completed a 2-1 victory with his volley six minutes from time.

Hughes had once again defied the critics who said Stoke's season was set to fizzle away into nothing.

"I think people felt Southampton were the team that had most to play for, that's not what we felt within the club," the Stoke manager said.

"We lost three games and drew one of the last four, but we saw again today we have a real resolve and determination to finish the season off strongly.

"We have matched the most wins in the Premier League by a Stoke team. We talked about that before the game.

"We have another home game to come so we will look to exceed the figure for the season.

"We have goals and targets we've talked about for a long time and they are very much on so we are really excited by where we are."

Just like his boss, Adam has spent much time over the last few years fending off accusations that he is nothing but a brute.

He went some way to answering those critics with a stunning 65-yard goal against Chelsea. And he showed superb quality to nip the ball away from Sadio Mane and fired a powerful volley past Kelvin Davis for the winner on Saturday.

Hughes has been disappointed Adam's efforts over the last few weeks have not been lauded by the critics.

"Maybe Charlie has not had the credit he deserves," Hughes said.

"But I'm sure when he is sitting by his log fire with his slippers on when he's as old and as grey as me he will be able to enjoy that time and time again."

Davis had handed Stoke their equaliser on a plate when he misjudged the flight of Steven Nzonzi's shot, which smacked off the angle and fell straight to Mame Diouf, who swept in from close range.

Saints boss Ronald Koeman refused to castigate his 38-year-old goalkeeper though.

"I call it unlucky," the Dutchman said.

"I will have to watch it back. I don't know if it was a cross or a shot, and maybe the wind was part of the difficulty for Kelvin."

Koeman cut a disappointed figure after the match, knowing that Southampton's Champions League hopes had taken a huge blow.

Hughes was the polar opposite. He chortled when asked whether he had bought Jones' greatest hits CD for his car in light of the revelations from UEFA.

"It's on loop," he said with a smile.

PA Media

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