Friday 15 November 2019

Mark Hughes keen to move on from Watford defeat

Mark Hughes saw his side put in a disappointing performance at home against Watford
Mark Hughes saw his side put in a disappointing performance at home against Watford

Stoke manager Mark Hughes feels Tuesday's Capital One Cup clash with Chelsea provides the "perfect" opportunity for his side to bounce back from their loss to Watford.

The Potters were on a high as they welcomed the Hornets to the Britannia Stadium on Saturday, looking for a fourth straight Barclays Premier League win to mark what was Hughes' 100th game in charge in all competitions.

But they suffered a 2-0 defeat having lacked potency in attack and been guilty of errors at the back, with Troy Deeney and Almen Abdi taking advantage by scoring for the visitors.

Three days later Stoke host a Chelsea side around whom the sense of crisis deepened with Saturday's 2-1 loss at West Ham, during which Blues boss Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands.

And ahead of the fourth round cup tie, Hughes said: "The performance against Watford was not one I recognised to be perfectly honest.

"But the good thing is that we have a big game on Tuesday against Chelsea, and that is the perfect game for us. We can get back on track.

"We'll be better on Tuesday."

Hughes had signalled before the Watford contest that Potters captain Ryan Shawcross - yet to feature for the first team this season after summer back surgery - would be likely to make his return to action against Chelsea.

And he has admitted the poor efforts of some of his players on Saturday has made him contemplate making various changes for Tuesday.

"Ryan was in my thoughts for Tuesday anyway," Hughes said.

"But obviously, given some of the performances against Watford, maybe other players come into my thinking as well."

While critical of his own side's exploits in Saturday's match, Hughes was also keen to praise Quique Sanchez Flores' energetic, well-organised Watford outfit.

"They are disciplined, athletic at the back and can get around the pitch," said Hughes, whose team have now won only one of five home games this season.

"We didn't have enough on the field to really affect that.

"It doesn't happen very often here and I don't anticipate it will in the future."

Watford have made a very creditable start to life back in the top flight following their promotion last season, with the win at Stoke giving them 13 points - one more than their hosts - from 10 games.

Flores said: "I am very happy.

"This is the first quarter and the moment to make a report maybe. The amount of points is okay - I think to have 13 points is very nice for Watford.

"But the most important thing is the way in which we got these points.

"We feel competitive, which is very important for the future."

PA Media

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