Stoke City manager Mark Hughes voiced his frustration with his side’s scoreless draw in Saturday’s Premier League clash at Newcastle United.
Hughes’ men came close to opening the scoring via Jonathan Walters in the 51st minute, but the striker was denied by Rob Elliot as it remained scoreless.
And Stoke were indebted to goalkeeper Jack Butland for preserving a point, the England international making a string of fine saves to ensure Hughes’ men came away with a clean sheet.
“Newcastle’s goalkeeper had to make a big save when Walters got his head to the ball. It was a frustrating game from our point of view,” Hughes said at a news conference.
“We had a decent amount of pressure, certainly in the final third. We couldn’t get our shots off in the first half as it looked like we were looking for the perfect goal. We needed to test their goalkeeper a bit more.
“We had a decent amount of the ball in the second half and created more chances. But we couldn’t find the cutting edge. Maybe the exertions in midweek against Chelsea just took the edge off.
“And the pitch was a bit softer than we are used to. I don’t know if they keep the grass a bit longer for the rugby games, but that also affected our players.”
Hughes was pleased with Butland’s performance, but did not feel his side were ever under any severe pressure from their hosts.
“He made a couple of saves, but that’s what he is paid to do. I don’t think Newcastle were peppering his goal to be honest, but he was there when we needed him,” Hughes added.
“His best save was when Moussa Sissoko burst through. There were a few things he had to do, but that was basic stuff for him. He had to make an impact and did just that.
“Newcastle had some good chances and Jack acquitted himself really well. He is a top-level goalkeeper and did very well.”