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Mark Hughes invites Ottmar Hitzfeld to watch Stoke after German criticises side

Published 02/12/2016

Ottmar Hitzfeld described Stoke as unexciting
Ottmar Hitzfeld described Stoke as unexciting

Mark Hughes has invited former Switzerland boss Ottmar Hitzfeld to the bet365 Stadium to watch Stoke following the German's criticism of his side.

Hitzfeld, hugely successful during his time in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund and then Bayern Munich, told a Swiss newspaper this week that he hopes Xherdan Shaqiri will not stay stuck in "no man's land" with Stoke, who he described as unexciting, and that they should be no more than a stepping stone for the midfielder to earn himself a move back to a big club.

The 67-year-old managed Shaqiri while in charge of the Swiss national team and believes the player left Bayern too soon to join Inter Milan, where he stayed just six months before joining Stoke for £12million in the summer of 2015.

However, Hughes insists Shaqiri is happy at Stoke and thinks Hitzfeld should educate himself about English football.

"Maybe he needs to come to a game at the weekend and experience a game at the stadium and see the excitement and energy of Premier League football. I'm sure he would enjoy it," said Hughes.

"He's speaking from maybe a place where he doesn't understand the Premier League and hasn't experienced many games at the bet365.

"He (Shaqiri) loves playing for Stoke and he's doing very well at the moment and you don't do that if you're not happy.

"Maybe he should have spoken to Shaq before he came out with that comment."

After an indifferent start, in which the Potters took eight matches to gain a first Premier League win, Stoke have now lost only once in the last eight games and Hughes is looking to continue that momentum at home to Burnley on Saturday.

He said: "We're back on track. At the start of the year we look at what points we can realistically pick up and we're probably about where we thought.

"We had difficult fixtures and one really poor performance against Crystal Palace. Since that day we've changed things around and changed personnel.

"It was important after the Bournemouth game that we bounced back. We were disappointed with the result and we were very keen to get quickly back on track."

Influential midfielder Joe Allen is available again after serving a one-match ban and the Wales international, Stoke's leading scorer this season, is expected to be restored to the starting line-up against Burnley.

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