Saturday 15 December 2018

Hughes demands Potters response

Stoke City 1 Bournemouth 2

Stoke's Joe Allen battles for the ball with Bournemouth's Benik Afobe Photo: Getty
Stoke's Joe Allen battles for the ball with Bournemouth's Benik Afobe Photo: Getty

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Mark Hughes has called on Stoke to "show their mettle" after they dropped into the Premier League relegation zone yesterday.

A pair of goals in 133 seconds stunned the Potters in the first half as Andrew Surman's 16th-minute opener was quickly followed by Junior Stanislas' penalty, awarded after Ryan Shawcross tripped Benik Afobe in the box.

Ryan Shawcross of Stoke City gets between Benik Afobe and Nathan Ake of AFC Bournemouth Photo: Getty
Ryan Shawcross of Stoke City gets between Benik Afobe and Nathan Ake of AFC Bournemouth Photo: Getty

Although Mame Diouf pulled one back in the second period, Hughes' side slipped into the bottom three and have now lost five of their last six in all competitions.

This result was not as jarring as the previous Saturday's 7-2 drubbing by Manchester City, yet it came against a struggling Cherries side without an away point in their other four top-flight contests.

"We've got to get back on the horse," Hughes said. "We fell off last week and this week, and it's time to show our mettle.

"Second half, there were some decent performances, without creating the moments. We've got to go again. There's no point feeling sorry for ourselves.

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe applauds the fans at the end of the game Photo: Getty
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe applauds the fans at the end of the game Photo: Getty

"Until this week, our start to the Premier League season, which we get criticised for usually - everybody says we start slowly - but I think it was our third best start in the Premier League.

"We've done OK up until this point, but this week has damaged that view. We've got to make sure we get back on track at Watford at the weekend.

"It was a big game for us. We wanted to show a response - first half we didn't, second half we did."

And it was a tale of two halves at the bet365 Stadium, with Stoke, playing a back three, initially unable to get close to a Bournemouth side popping passes around.

A change of shape and style from the hosts, coupled with the introduction of Peter Crouch, turned the tide, but Eddie Howe's visitors weathered the storm well.

For Howe, a manager who rarely indulges in public displays of emotion, the fist pumps to the travelling fans at full-time said it all.

"I thought we showed the two sides to our game," he said. "The football we played first half was excellent. I thought we were very good and had total control.

"You knew at half-time the game would change with the weather and Crouch coming on so the most pleasing thing is, at 2-1, with a large proportion of the game left, we looked very solid and didn't really give them many clear-cut chances."

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