Mark Hughes conceded Stoke City were simply no match for Arsenal as they were beaten 2-0 in the Premier League at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Theo Walcott gifted Arsenal the lead in the opening 45 minutes before Olivier Giroud made it two in the closing stages of the game and Hughes admitted Stoke did not deserve more.
“We were too passive in our defensive work. That was the story of our afternoon. Arsenal have good players to create chances and move around the pitch, manipulate the ball to good effect. We just didn’t get to the source of the problem,” said the Welshman.
“We never got anywhere near the Arsenal players in the first half. Our plan was to close players down and affect the game. We were slightly better in the second half after a few changes.
“The international break has affected us. We had a little edge taken away from us, with people travelling. Arsenal obviously had people away as well, but they didn’t seem to have that problem.
“We were poor, but we have done well earlier this season. We faced a very good Arsenal team here. They were good and moved the ball very well. But we will play lesser teams and get points.”
Hughes also saw two positives, though, as he was full of praise for goalkeeper Jack Butland and voiced his delight with the return of Bojan Krkic after a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to injury.
He added: “Jack Butland once again showed what an outstanding young goalkeeper he is. But our aim is to make sure he will not get as many chances to be man of the match as the season progresses. He has too much to do at the moment. His performances are a positive. He has been outstanding this season and has justified the decision to make him my new number one.
“The reintroduction of Bojan was another positive. We are delighted to see him back.”