Belfast Telegraph

Hughes: City underestimated us

Mark Hughes suggested Manchester City may have paid the price for taking Stoke too lightly after the Potters frustrated Manuel Pellegrini's men at the Britannia Stadium.

Pellegrini was forced to settle for a goalless draw after a City side showing six changes failed to impose themselves in their latest Barclays Premier League outing.

Stoke even had the better of the game and went closest to scoring when Jonathan Walters headed a good chance wide and Joe Hart produced a good save to prevent a Matija Nastasic own goal.

Stoke manager Hughes said: "I think we are disappointed we haven't won, so that's an illustration of how we feel the game went.

"City have got big games coming up, it is a busy period. Maybe they picked a team they felt could win against us, given the Champions League game in midweek.

"Maybe they prioritised the wrong game.

"They have got a huge squad and you have to use your resources in the right way and get the combination right.

"That is the balance you have to make when you have got riches like Man City have.

"They didn't quite get that right before the game. That probably helped us, looking at the teamsheet."

Stoke have made an encouraging start under Hughes, having performed well in defeat at Liverpool in the opening game and then beaten Crystal Palace and West Ham prior to City's visit.

Hughes is trying to change perceptions of Stoke as a physical and direct team and his influence was evident as they played the better football throughout.

Hughes said: "In terms of chances created I thought we certainly had the better of those.

"It was probably the only thing missing from our performance, the ability to covert a chance. We created enough of them.

"But overall we are happy with our performance. If we keep our performance at that level we will have a good season.

"Our performances have improved steadily as the season has gone on.

"It is still early days, so we have got to maintain it but we have got a lot of confidence because what we are trying is working."

Hughes refused to criticise Walters, who glanced his headed chance wide after being picked out by a fine cross from the superb Charlie Adam.

He said: "I've been a striker, I have been in those situations - do you let the ball just hit your head or do you try to guide it?

"Sometimes they come off, other times they don't.

"Unfortunately it just went past the far post but I thought Jon was great today. He put in a real shift for us and was unlucky."

Pellegrini tried to paint the result in a positive light for City.

Since opening the season with an emphatic victory over Newcastle, City have been unconvincing but Pellegrini claimed to be pleased with the point.

The Chilean said said: "I am not disappointed with the performance but we didn't have many chances to score.

"When you play away and you can't win at least you must not lose.

"We didn't have the players to work much, they were all with their national squad and we had four or five injuries.

"We have a complete back four out, [David] Silva out and we have the Champions League next Tuesday so I think it is a good point for us."

Pellegrini was unhappy with the suggestion that after spending more than £90million over the summer City should always be expected to win.

He said: "I don't think you must expect to win every match.

"Of course we want to win every game but it is impossible to do it.

"I will not always be happy when we draw away but for this match I think it was a good draw.

"I don't believe because we made changes we didn't play well.

"Stoke also played a good match and that is also why we didn't have clear chances to score."


From Belfast Telegraph