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Mark Hughes urges Stoke to be better defensively and create more

Published 12/02/2016

Mark Hughes' Stoke have lost each of their last three Premier League games, all 3-0
Mark Hughes' Stoke have lost each of their last three Premier League games, all 3-0

Stoke boss Mark Hughes wants to see both greater defensive discipline and more risk-taking in attack from his side when they face Bournemouth this weekend.

The Potters head into Saturday's contest at the Vitality Stadium on a poor run, with their previous three Barclays Premier League games having all ended in 3-0 defeats.

That is part of a six-match sequence in which they have also exited two cup competitions, and only scored one goal.

Hughes is eager for his 11th-placed side to not let what had been shaping up as a fine season peter out.

And the Welshman - still without Ryan Shawcross for this fixture - said: "We have to learn from what has happened.

"We have to be better defensively - and as a team, not only the back four or five.

"It is a collective thing. We need to improve all aspects of our defensive play."

Stoke's last outing saw them beaten 3-0 at home by Everton despite having considerably more possession than their opponents.

Hughes added: "We have to create a little bit more as well.

"That is the frustration for us at the moment - we are getting lots of possession, with the Everton game a case in point. But we didn't create enough.

"We've used different combinations, but it is fair to say we have not fallen on one that will guarantee us a significant amount of goals.

"So it's about guys stepping up to the plate and having an impact when called upon.

"We do have good options. But it is just about getting that understanding of what is required at the top end of the pitch, in terms being a little more aggressive in the passing, not playing it so safe, and really looking to put people through.

"We have not been good at that in the last few games.

"We have talked about that this week. It is the first for a while where we've really been able to get on the training ground and get some specific work done.

"It has been productive in that regard, so I expect to see a response."

Stoke have just come through a hectic period, but there is a fortnight between this game and their next, and Hughes said: "You want to go into any break on a high.

"If there is a defeat from your last game, the hangover just drifts and takes a while to dissipate.

"But when you get a positive result, you can benefit in the reverse way.

"So that is our intention. We need to get back on track and we are looking for a good performance, something to build on."

Hughes hopes to have forward Jonathan Walters back for the clash with 15th-placed Bournemouth.

Walters missed the Everton defeat due to a virus, but returned to training on Thursday.

Shawcross (back) is nearing readiness for his return to action but this game comes too soon for him, along with Geoff Cameron (ankle) and Charlie Adam (calf).

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