Sunday 18 March 2018

Mark Bowen optimistic Stoke can turn their season around after poor start

Mark Bowen is confident Stoke can turn their fortunes around
Mark Bowen is confident Stoke can turn their fortunes around

Stoke's players and coaching staff are frustrated but united in their confidence they can turn things around for the club, according to assistant boss Mark Bowen.

The Potters are bottom of the Premier League after taking just one point from the opening five fixtures of their campaign. They have suffered four league losses in a row, with three of those seeing Mark Hughes' men concede four times.

They had only one point more after five games last term, before going on to finish ninth for a third successive season under Hughes' management.

And, speaking ahead of Wednesday's EFL Cup third-round home clash with Hull, Bowen said: "Everybody is frustrated and disappointed.

"Certainly, there is a realisation that things aren't going for us at the moment. We are making silly mistakes and being heavily punished for it.

"But there is a feeling of togetherness and we still know we are a decent side. In the last three years we have had three top-10 finishes, and many of the players are still the same.

"It's just a situation at the moment we know we'll come through - we have too many good players and strong characters (not to). We've been there before and we'll have the same outcome again.

"The season is over 38 games and this time last year, we had the same sort of negative comments from outside the club that there's a real worry - and the people who were saying that were asking in March 'can you get Champions League football?'

"We know what we're about.

"We're definitely hurting, but the relationships in the dressing room - between players, and staff and players - are good.

"Everybody is together. We have to get ourselves out of this situation, and there's confidence we will."

Asked if he felt the achievements of the last few past seasons bought Hughes some time with Stoke chairman Peter Coates and with the club's fans, Bowen said: "You'd hope so.

"The fans want the best for their club and they are frustrated - their expectations are way up there, the same as ours. You'd like to think or hope we've earned some credit with them.

"They know what we can do and what we're good at. They know what we've produced and what the end product will be."

Coates has stressed his support for Hughes - but also emphasised things must start improving quickly for the Potters.

Quoted by The Sentinel, the chairman said: "He's our manager and he's got our support. We've played five games.

"He's been around the block. We've finished ninth three times and that tells you he's got experience.

"We are disappointed to be where we are. It has been a poor start to the season.

"We need to start winning matches, the sooner the better, and as soon as we do that it changes everything.

"We've got experienced players and they've got to do better."

Press Association

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