Friday 20 April 2018

Mauricio Pochettino credits Mark Hughes with "changing the culture" at Stoke

Stoke manager Mark Hughes, pictured left, has been credited with changing the club's tactical approach by Tottenham counterpart Mauricio Pochettino
Stoke manager Mark Hughes, pictured left, has been credited with changing the club's tactical approach by Tottenham counterpart Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino believes Mark Hughes has changed the footballing culture at Stoke and admits he has been the one to sign the physically dominating players this time around.

Ever since their promotion to the Premier League in 2008, the Potters have been branded with a reputation for hard-hitting, no-nonsense football.

Hughes set about changing that perception upon his arrival at the bet365 Stadium in 2013 and continued that process by adding the likes of Joe Allen and Wilfried Bony to a squad already boasting talent such as Bojan Krkic, Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautovic.

And Pochettino has praised the Welshman for the changes he has made to Stoke, having also delivered three ninth-placed finishes in succession.

"I think Mark Hughes is a manager who changed a lot, the culture and philosophy that Stoke played before," the Spurs boss said.

"Always it is difficult to change the culture and philosophy because you need time, sometimes you need three, four, five years to change things in a club.

"It is true that today, Stoke City try and play attractive football and they have signed good players like Bony, and last season Shaqiri, they have Arnautovic and (Giannelli) Imbula, they are a very good team."

Considered over-physical in the past, Stoke are changing that tag while Pochettino has been keen to add steel to his own squad at White Hart Lane.

Spurs, who won 4-0 at Stoke last season before ultimately falling short in their bid to win the title, have added Victor Wanyama and Moussa Sissoko to their ranks during the summer.

Wanyama has already made a difference while Sissoko could make his debut when Tottenham travel to Stoke on Saturday, having signed from Newcastle in one of the most intriguing moves on transfer deadline day.

And Pochettino is pleased to have two players of quality, and stature, available as he looks to mount another serious title bid while also juggling a return to the Champions League.

"I think Wanyama and Sissoko are not only strong, big guys, they can play good football too," he said.

"They have very good skill. Sometimes in the market you have the possibility to sign some players and maybe it's not like when you buy a car and you build your own car and put in different options and sometimes you bring in the options that you have in the market. It's a good balance."

While Sissoko could make his debut, his France international team-mate Hugo Lloris is expected to return in goal after recovering from the hamstring injury he suffered in the opening game of the season.

Left-back Danny Rose will not feature after picking up a similar problem during England's 1-0 win in Slovakia on Sunday so Ben Davies is likely to be drafted in.

Press Association

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