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Hughes concerned by barren spell

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes fears that his side’s fragile confidence is being undermined by a lack of firepower.

The Welshman watched as City played out a 0-0 draw with West Brom on Saturday, and although it was a welcome point – their first in four league games – goals were missing once again.

Stoke have now scored just four times in their opening eight Premier League fixtures, with their last goal coming in a 3-1 loss to Arsenal on September 22.

And although Hughes is confident that they are heading in the right direction, he knows that they must start converting their chances sooner rather than later.

“We are struggling for goals, but that’s been prevalent here before I came, it’s something that we’re working on,” he said.

“I think in terms of chances created, we are still creating the same if not more chances (than before Hughes’ arrival) given the fact that we are playing in a slightly different way.

“It’s up to us to make sure we convert the ones that we create because in every game we’ve played, we’ve created chances but haven’t converted them, so the longer that goes on the more confidence we’ll lose. It’s important that we start scoring and start converting what we’re creating.”

Hughes also acknowledged that a point could have evaded them in the second half, with West Brom seeing strong claims for a penalty waved away when Youssouf Mulumbu’s heel appeared to be caught by Charlie Adam.

The Stoke boss admitted that a spot-kick could easily have been given.

“They will feel a little bit aggrieved with the penalty claim they had,” he added. “It looked like it was a penalty but we had similar complaints a couple of weeks back at Fulham so, as the old adage goes, they even themselves out apparently.”

Sat 19 October, 2013
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