Saturday 24 August 2019

Mark Hughes hoping Stoke can use Jose Mourinho ban to their advantage

Jose Mourinho is unable to attend Chelsea's match at Stoke on Saturday
Jose Mourinho is unable to attend Chelsea's match at Stoke on Saturday
Mark Hughes' Stoke host a Jose Mourinho-less Chelsea on Saturday

Mark Hughes hopes Stoke can take advantage of Jose Mourinho's absence when the Blues visit the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.

Mourinho will serve a one-match stadium ban imposed following his half-time dismissal against West Ham last month.

The Chelsea boss has found himself in disciplinary hot water on more than one occasion already this season and on Friday opted to accept the punishment rather than submit an appeal.

That means he is not allowed to be at the Britannia for the match - an unusual situation that Stoke boss Hughes admits could work both ways.

He said: "Jose's had any number of run-ins this year, maybe he's just a little bit tired of trying to argue his case.

"I think Jose's got a little bit of a gripe with the powers that be and maybe they're coming down really hard on him at the moment.

"I'm not quite sure of the full details of why he is banned but obviously that may well impact negatively on the team, or it might be a positive. It's a tough one to call from our point of view whether it's a good thing or a bad thing.

"You would think without his influence at half-time or just prior to the game, that would take something away. But it's always good to see Jose in the dugout opposite and I know our crowd enjoy seeing opposition managers and that gets them going."

Mourinho suggested on Friday he might not even watch the game and insisted he would not do anything to try to flout the ban.

During his first spell at Stamford Bridge he reportedly got around a UEFA-imposed stadium ban by hiding in a laundry skip.

Hughes admitted he did not see how the punishment was 100 per cent enforceable, saying: " Who's to say he hasn't got a phone to his ear and is in touch with his coaching staff? Who's going to know?

"Unless an FA official is actually sat on Jose's knee, I don't think anyone would know."

Chelsea have lost more than half their Premier League matches and are languishing in 15th place in the table.

They lost on penalties at the Britannia only last week in the Capital One Cup - a result sandwiched by league defeats against West Ham and Liverpool.

Hughes felt Chelsea's struggles overshadowed the achievement of his side that day - and hopes to prove a point on Saturday.

The Welshman said: "I'd like to think if we put in the level of performance that we did in the Capital One Cup then hopefully we'll get a few more mentions.

"Anything that ups the level of performance you're at liberty to use (as motivation) and that's what we'll try to do.

"Our motivating factor isn't to compound the situation people feel Jose's in. It's about us. We're on a decent run of form. I think Arsenal and Tottenham are the only two teams that have earned as many points as us over the last six games.

"We know we need to improve our home form. Obviously we went some way towards that with our performance against Chelsea last time out here. We'll have to hit the same levels.

"You saw midweek in the Champions League that, even when they're struggling somewhat, towards the latter stages when the opposing team had pegged them back, they've still got individuals who can turn the game. "

Hughes welcomes back defender Geoff Cameron from a thigh problem, leaving Marc Muniesa and Shay Given as his only absentees.

The Stoke boss acknowledged the depth of his squad was leaving some players unsatisfied.

Peter Crouch this week said he might be open to a move in January having not started a Premier League game all season, but Hughes wants to hold on to the striker.

He said: "It's understandable to a certain extent. What we've tried to be is fair and make Peter, and other players who've been in a similar situation, understand them not being involved. They just need to be patient.

"Peter is a unique player. He's a big part of what we do so I'd be very loath to let him leave."

PA Media

The Left Wing: The 'hell' of World Cup training camp, Ireland's half-back dilemma and All Blacks uncertainty

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport