Belfast Telegraph

Mark Hughes expects Stoke to come good

Mark Hughes thinks Stoke are not doing "too much really wrong" at the moment and is confident they will be back in the top half of the Premier League before long.

The Potters head into Wednesday's home clash against Liverpool having won only one of the their previous six league games and none of the last three.

Their last two outings have seen them lead twice at Brighton only to draw 2-2 and then go from 1-0 up to losing 2-1 at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Stoke boss Hughes said ahead of the Liverpool match: "Individual and collective errors are what is holding us back. It is all about cutting those out.

"Once we address that, which we certainly will, then we will be fine, because performance levels are okay.

"I think for the most part, the performance at the weekend was good enough to get something out of that game.

"Ultimately we fell at the last hurdle (Palace's second goal came in stoppage time).

"But I don't think we are going to be crushed or really devastated by that because we know we can turn those moments around. It's only fine margins we are talking about at the moment."

Stoke, who Hughes led to ninth-placed finishes in each of his first three seasons in charge after being appointed in 2013, came 13th last term and they ended the weekend 15th in the table, three points behind 10th-spotted Southampton.

Asked about negativity among the Staffordshire club's fans, Hughes said: "There seems to have been negativity from probably the beginning of the season and we only dissipate it by winning.

"It seems if we don't win, it all comes flooding back. We understand that and it is not going to go away any time soon.

"You've got to take a considered view and at times take the emotion out of losing games and just look at it as we have to look at it and say what are we doing right and what are we doing really wrong.

"And I don't feel we are doing too much really wrong.

"I think we are very, very close to establishing ourselves once again in the top half of the league, because that is where we feel the team deserves to be.

"And once we are there, which we feel we will be at some point in the season, we will stay there, and build our season from that point onwards."

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah scored his 15th club goal of the season on Saturday as his side drew 1-1 with Chelsea, and Hughes said of the prospect of facing the Egyptian: " It's a little bit daunting from our point of view because he is playing exceptionally well.

"But we can't be overly concerned about one player in Liverpool's team - they have a lot of match-winners."

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