Belfast Telegraph

We will be hurt by Spurs thrashing, admits Stoke boss Hughes

Stoke manager Mark Hughes fears his side will likely be damaged by their second-half capitulation against Tottenham at Wembley.

Spurs welcomed the Potters to north London having failed to win in their previous four Premier League games, but this one never looked in doubt as Mauricio Pochettino's men racked up a 5-1 victory.

A Ryan Shawcross own goal put Tottenham ahead at the interval before the hosts ran riot, man of the match Son Heung-min scoring the second before Harry Kane brought up 50 goals for 2017 with a well-taken double.

Christian Eriksen added the gloss of a fifth before Shawcross headed home a late consolation for Stoke, who are enduring their worst start to a Premier League season with only 16 points from their opening 16 games.

Under-fire Hughes has seen his side slip into a relegation battle and the Welshman admitted this was a performance which could have a lasting effect.

"We are disappointed once again," he said.

"The manner of the defeat is hard to take I have to say, second half was not acceptable from my point of view. First half I think we did okay up to a point. We were unlucky to concede in that manner and we looked quite bright on the break.

"The manner of the defeat hurts us and probably damages us.

"It becomes a little bit ragged and that is when good teams can open you up and that is what we found in the second half unfortunately. You can't let games run away like they are doing at the moment.

"At 3-0 it was a case of damaged limitation, but sadly we failed to do that, they got their tails up, encouraged by us being loose and we should have just been resolute, took our medicine, saw the game out and moved on."

The win was just what the doctor ordered for Spurs as they addressed a slide in domestic form which had not seen them win a Premier League game since November 5.

Pochettino had seen his side top their Champions League group containing Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund and said he was never in any doubt that his players would turn around their league form.

"There was never any doubt about the team," he said.

"I am confident, there are some not so good moments in every team. We stay optimistic and try to keep our level for the next few games.

"The team's performance was very good. It was like our other performances, but today we were very clinical in front of goal. We were focused and concentrated hard from the beginning.

"The first goal was important as you believe more, and it makes the game go a different way. The last few games we started behind which makes it more difficult."

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