Mark Hughes hailed match-winner Marko Arnautovic after his goal secured a 1-0 Premier League win at Aston Villa for Stoke City.
Arnautovic, having previously been dubiously denied by the offside flag in the 35th minute, settled the contest with a close-range strike to seal a third consecutive victory in all competitions for Stoke.
The result piled more misery on a Villa side who have not won in the league since the opening day of the season, but Hughes was left to revel in a strong performance that he feels was up there with Stoke’s best of the campaign.
“I was pleased with what we produced, it was a performance that we have been looking for,” Hughes said in quotes reported by BBC Sport.
“The first half was some of the best stuff we have played in terms of controlling the game.
“In the second half, we knew they would come at us, but we defended really well.”
He added: “I thought Marko Arnautovic was excellent, offensively and defensively. He puts a shift in. It wasn’t an easy chance, but thankfully he took it.
“It would have been hard to take had we not taken maximum points, but we have a lot of time to prepare for the next game at Swansea.”