Belfast Telegraph

Twin targets for Huth

Stoke defender Robert Huth is targeting a first top-10 finish in the Barclays Premier League and a good run in Europe this season.

The Potters secured their first point of the new campaign in a goalless draw at home to Chelsea. That is already an improvement on last term, when Stoke lost their first three matches and were bottom of the table heading into September.

They recovered to end up 13th, their lowest league finish in the three seasons since promotion having come 12th and 11th. The defender remains optimistic heading into the new season, saying: "To get safe is the main priority but, depending on if we qualify for Europe, we'd like to go as far as we can."

He added: "It would be outstanding to get into the group stages of the Europa League. It is not something anyone else at the club has done and hopefully if we do qualify it won't affect us in the league.

"Hopefully we can get a top-10 finish if we can continue the sort of form we have been showing recently."

Pulis has only managed to bolster the defensive ranks of his squad so far this summer, bringing in Jonathan Woodgate and Matthew Upson after they were released by Tottenham and West Ham respectively. Huth said the lack of options was noticeable against Chelsea when enforced changes had to be made.

"We played well for 70 minutes but then Rory Delap and Matt Etherington came off and so we had to dig deep the last few minutes," he added.

"They (Chelsea) have good players but we are so tight defensively even if someone goes past you there is always someone else there.

"I thought everyone in the defence did their job against tricky wide men but all over the pitch we competed and made it really hard for them, it would be difficult to single anyone out.

"It is early doors but hopefully we can get one or two players in to make a difference."


From Belfast Telegraph