December 7 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, September 28, 2013
Mark Hughes is pledging Stoke will probe for any vulnerability in Norwich City’s ranks at the Britannia Stadium.
The Potters will better their previous best start to a Premier League season with victory over the Canaries and Hughes is delighted with how the early months of his reign have gone since replacing the long-serving Tony Pulis.
“I wasn’t aware of that stat, but it is something to aim for and hopefully we can go out there, take the game to Norwich and get the three points on the board,” he said. “We can draw a lot of encouragement from what the players have done so far, because they have taken a good amount of points from five very difficult opening fixtures.
“Not only that, but we have performed well and can count ourselves unfortunate not to have accumulated more points having created numerous opportunities to take all three out of the game against Manchester City. Even at Arsenal last weekend I thought we matched them. Obviously, we were disappointed to have given them three goals from set-pieces, but in terms of ball retention and getting into dangerous positions we had the better of that, particularly in the second half.
“We want to continue what we have done on Sunday, and I am sure that if we can do that then we will win the game. We certainly have the quality and talent to get the three points, that is for sure.”
Hughes’ side have so far only lost to the Gunners and Liverpool on the opening day of the Premier League season and emulated the Canaries’ achievement in reaching the last 16 of the Capital One Cup in midweek with a 2-0 away win at Tranmere.
Hughes made seven changes for the Prenton Park victory with Peter Crouch and Stephen Ireland both on the mark after having to bide their time in the Premier League.
“I thought we played some excellent stuff,” said Hughes. “The tempo and accuracy of our passing was really excellent first half. Credit to Tranmere for making it more difficult for us second half, but we never looked like losing. We continue to look a really accomplished side and that’s pleasing that we are not allowing our standards to drop. In terms of the depth of squad, I’m really pleased with what I saw out there.
“Stephen was just cramping up a bit, which is understandable, because we are trying to get him to a level we know he can hit. Everybody can see he’s an intelligent footballer who understands how to affect games in a positive manner.”
Chris Hughton admitted Norwich’s soft centre again contributed to their downfall as Luis Suarez inspired Liverpool to a 5-1 Premier League win on Wednesday night at Anfield.