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Hughes bemoans first-half penalty

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has bemoaned the first-half penalty his side conceded in a 2-1 Premier League defeat to Crystal Palace, but insists he is able to take plenty of positives from the display.

The hosts had the better of possession and chances during the opening period at the Britannia Stadium, but fell behind after Glenn Whelan clumsily felled Wilfried Zaha in the box.

Connor Wickham fired straight down the middle to send Palace in front, before Bojan Krkic looked to have rescued a point when he scored a spot-kick of his own in the 76th minute.

However, a flash of brilliance from Lee Chung-yong left Stoke empty-handed, the South Korea international firing a superb effort beyond goalkeeper Jack Butland from just outside the box two minutes from time.

“From our point of view, we’re disappointed,” Hughes told a media conference. “We’ve played worse than that and won games. 

“We had a setback with the penalty just before half-time, so that was a boost for them. 

“Second half they can come out and defend really well with lots of men behind the ball, which they’re very good at, and they’ve always got that threat on the break.

“The disappointing thing is the lad’s [Zaha] going away from goal. I think Glenn just felt he could get a toe-poke on it, but as he did that the lad splayed his leg and he has caught his leg and gone down.

“It’s a soft one from our point of view by virtue of the lad going away from goal. I think we had 30 seconds left in the first half, so we should have just been able to see the half out comfortably and then regroup for the second half.

“As it was, we needed to make changes quite early. We had to go a little bit gung ho and get back in the game, which we did and were pleased about.

“Towards the end of the game you’re thinking Palace looked reasonably comfortable or happy with the point because they’d taken most of their more creative players out of the game. 

“But low and behold they get one last corner and it drops to the lad on the edge of the box who will never hit a ball like that ever again. He probably hasn’t done before, either.

“That’s what happens, it’s sport. You have to dust yourself down and keep going because confidence-wise we’re not affected because I thought we did okay.”

Asked for his view on Stoke’s spot-kick, given for a Damien Delaney handball, Hughes quipped: “I haven’t seen it… clearly it was a penalty!”

Sat 19 Dec, 2015
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