Mark Hughes thinks Chelsea could miss Jose Mourinho’s influence at half-time although questioned how the Football Association can be certain the Portuguese manager is not in attendance at the Britannia Stadium.
Chelsea will be without their boss for Saturday’s crucial Premier League clash as he is serving a one-match stadium ban following his sending off against West Ham.
Hughes believes Mourinho’s presence in the dugout will be missed but does not want the latest saga at Chelsea to detract from his own side’s performances.
“Jose has had any number of run-ins with the authorities and maybe he is tired of arguing his case,” said the Stoke City boss.
“It might impact negatively on the team but it might not. They might miss his influence at half-time but it is always good to see Jose in the dugout and our fans enjoy it.
“We will see if it is a negative or a positive for them. I don’t anticipate him sneaking in with a laundry basket again.
“I am not sure if it is for us or the FA to monitor him, because who is to know whether he will have a phone to his ear? Unless an FA official is sat on Jose’s knee I am not sure if anyone knows if he will be here.
“There is a chance it can overshadow the game and it was a bit like it in the [League] Cup where we hardly got a mention. If we put in another performance like that then I am sure we will get more of a mention.”
Hughes feels it is only a matter of time until Chelsea turn around their dreadful start to the season but hopes Stoke can postpone that run of form for at least another week.
He continued: “What happens to Chelsea is not our priority. We only worry about ourselves and whilst we will work to beat Chelsea, we know they are a good side and they are getting a lot of criticism.
“I have said before that most top players and managers react to situations like that and at some point I am sure their season will turn around. We just have to make sure it doesn’t happen on Saturday.
“Once the game starts that is when our focus really narrows. We are in decent shape and a bit frustrated at our home form, but it is another opportunity to address that in a high profile game.”