Belfast Telegraph

Stoke boss Mark Hughes shrugs off Manuel Pellegrini's 'small team' jibe

By Staff Reporter

Stoke manager Mark Hughes has laughed off Manchester City counterpart Manuel Pellegrini's "small team" comments.

Pellegrini was left annoyed by Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho's tactics in last Sunday's 1-1 draw between the sides.

Having been beaten at home by Stoke three weeks previously, the Chilean held up Chelsea and the Potters for comparison, seemingly belittling both clubs. Describing the match with Chelsea, he said: "It was very similar to the Stoke team, with a big team playing against a small team with very good players, trying to defend, trying to keep the score (0-0)."

Asked for his thoughts on Stoke being described as "small", Hughes said: "I think everybody understood what he meant.

"He was possibly disappointed with the way Chelsea approached the game. Having seen us play exceptionally well a few weeks previously, why wouldn't Chelsea follow what we did?

"We didn't take any umbrage with it, as criticism of ourselves."

It was at Manchester City where Hughes was given his first taste of big-time management, and the pressure and expectation that comes in running a club of that ilk.

In that respect he can appreciates the circumstances currently being faced by Newcastle boss Alan Pardew, whose side face the Potters tonight.

"The focus on big clubs is always there and the only way you can deal with it is by winning football matches and if you don't there is a negative focus."

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