Tuesday 20 February 2018

Hughes hails superb Bojan

Southampton 0-1 Stoke City

Maarten Stekelenburg of Southampton fails to stop Bojan's effort
Maarten Stekelenburg of Southampton fails to stop Bojan's effort
Bojan celebrates scoring his side's winning goal
Both managers look on from the sideline

Andy Sims

Mark Hughes saluted Bojan Krkic for the moment of quality which earned his Stoke side another precious away win.

Former Barcelona forward Bojan tucked in his third goal of the season after 10 minutes before Stoke shut up shop to register a fourth straight clean sheet on the road. Xherdan Shaqiri charged clear down the right and, as England full-back Ryan Bertrand ushered the Swiss winger inside, he played the ball across the 18-yard line to Marko Arnautovic. The Austrian helped the ball out to overlapping full-back Erik Pieters, whose cross was flicked in at the near post by the unmarked Bojan.

"He has that ability to drift between defenders," said Hughes. "It wasn't an easy finish - it was a good ball in, but it still needed converting. That's the ability he has. You need that creative spark, players who can make a difference, and we have two or three of those now. Bojan has won a game for us in terms of the goal he scored."

Hughes' side have lost just once on their travels this term, and they moved to within a point of Saints after halting the hosts' six-match unbeaten streak in the Premier League.

"I'm very pleased, I thought we restricted a very good side to few clear-cut opportunities," added Hughes.

Saints boss Ronald Koeman felt his side should have had a second-half penalty when Philipp Wollscheid felled Graziano Pelle, but referee Lee Mason saw nothing wrong. "I don't understand that, from my distance it was very clear," said the Dutchman. "I don't know why, from five yards away, the referee doesn't give a penalty."

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