Belfast Telegraph

Mark Hughes unimpressed by Arnautovic antics

Mark Hughes has criticised former Stoke forward Marko Arnautovic for his antics at the bet365 Stadium.

Potters boss Hughes was unhappy about the the Irons salute West Ham forward Arnautovic gave to Stoke supporters in response to the taunts he received on Saturday at a venue he called home for four seasons.

Hughes shouted at Arnautovic as he was substituted shortly after scoring in a 3-0 win and the Welshman later spoke out about the 28-year-old, who lodged a transfer request over the summer to force through a £25million move to the Hammers.

"There was a little bit of baiting (from the Stoke crowd) obviously, but did he not expect that?" Hughes said.

"I had better be careful because it sounds like sour grapes (but) I think he should have risen above any criticism or abuse that he had.

"He had enough at other places, and this place was actually very, very good for him. The fans loved him here. So to burn all your bridges after just one game, he didn't need to do it."

Arnautovic also appeared to anger Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland and defender Ryan Shawcross as he made his way off the pitch, at which point he was greeted by a Potters supporter throwing a t-shirt in his direction.

Rather than ignore it, the Austrian picked it up and stared back at the crowd before completing his pantomime villain act by walking along the touchline to jeers from Stoke fans and cheers from the West Ham end.

"He was doing all sorts by the end and did well to get back to the dressing room safely," Hughes added.

While Arnautovic had the last laugh with his team's second goal, he should have killed off Stoke way before he did.

He struck the crossbar twice, missed a pair of one-on-ones and skied another attempt, prompting chants of 'what a waste of money' from the home supporters.

Though he has gone from hero to zero with those of a Potters persuasion, he is quickly endearing himself to both Hammers fans and boss David Moyes, who can see comparisons between Arnautovic and a former West Ham fan favourite Paolo Di Canio.

"I think he is that type of player," Moyes said.

"If you get him in form, and he is getting goals and showing the ability he has, I think he has something about him. And the fans love that type of character.

"I said to Marko make sure you don't get wound up. It's not probably going to be for you so don't get carried away with it and don't get involved.

"I think he played a little bit like that at times in the first half. I think if he had played a little bit more with the eye of the tiger, he would have got a few more goals.

"I needed him to be as tough as he showed in the second half."

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