Belfast Telegraph

Xherdan Shaqiri delighted with 'beautiful goals' in Stoke victory

Xherdan Shaqiri revealed he now has more viewing material after adding two more "beautiful goals" to his collection in Saturday's 2-0 win at Premier League strugglers Hull.

The Switzerland international lit up a dour first half at the KCOM Stadium with a stunning strike from outside the penalty area and followed up five minutes into the second period with a classic free-kick to lift his side up to 16th in the table and send Hull sliding into the relegation zone.

"I don't know why I just score spectacular goals," said Shaqiri, whose remarkable bicycle kick for Switzerland against Poland at Euro 2016 was one of the goals of the tournament.

"Most of the time my goals are really beautiful and I like watching them time and time again."

Shaqiri's first effort on Saturday won the admiration of Mark Hughes, no stranger to brilliant goals himself during his own playing career, while the Stoke boss said later it was no surprise when the little midfielder converted his free-kick.

"It's not the first time I have scored beautiful goals," Shaqiri said about his opener. "I score goals like that in important tournaments. I had space and good shape and saw the gap.

On his second, he added: "When we have a free-kick like that I know I have to test the keeper. That is my range and I hit it well."

Stoke, in the bottom three before kick-off, appear to have put another sluggish start to the campaign behind them with back-to-back league wins following a 2-0 home victory against Sunderland in their previous match.

"We've had a slow start to the season but we are getting there," Shaqiri said.

"I don't know why we start slowly every year, but we are now in good shape.

"We managed the game very well over the 90 minutes and could have scored more. We created a lot more chances, but it was also important to keep a clean sheet again."

Hughes, who has guided Stoke to three consecutive ninth-placed finishes in the top flight, said Shaqiri's opening goal was even better when he watched a video replay after the match.

"I under-estimated how good the first strike was to be honest," said the Welshman. "I didn't realise how far out it was. It was a great strike. The technique to get that much power and accuracy from that distance.

"The second one I was less surprised by because that's the perfect range for Shaq. He enjoys doing that in training. We see it time and again, where it's very difficult for the keepers to stop them."

Hughes has backed his former Manchester United team-mate Mike Phelan to turn Hull's fortunes around after five straight league defeats.

Hull have lost both games since Phelan was made permanent manager, but the Tigers boss dismissed suggestions of a crisis.

When asked if he can halt the slide, Phelan said: "Yes, of course. We're in a position where most people expect us to be probably.

"We started well, we've faded away, we've had some difficult games but it's still relatively early for us to not panic.

"There are times when you think it's going to be a long, hard season and times when you think it's going okay.

"We have to come through this. We have to practice, we have to work, we have to come up with solutions and we have to stay confident."


From Belfast Telegraph