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Hughes keen for repeat performance against Chelsea

SoccerNews in English Premier League 3 Apr 2014

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Mark Hughes wants Stoke City to take confidence from December’s 3-2 win over Chelsea when they meet at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Oussama Assaidi’s stunning late strike saw them pick up three points late last year in a thrilling affair at the Britannia Stadium.

While Chelsea remain in the hunt for the Premier League title, Hughes wants his charges to go to Stamford Bridge full of confidence thanks to December’s success.

As the former Chelsea striker prepares to visit the club with Stoke for a second time this year, following defeat in the FA Cup fourth round, Hughes wants to complete an unlikely double.

“We can take a lot of confidence from the fact that we have played and beaten Chelsea in the league once this season,” he said.

“It was a tremendous occasion for us, especially with the manner in which the winning goal came about – in the final minute when they had no time to get back on level terms.

“We have played them at Stamford Bridge in the cup too this year, and we were in that game from start to finish. We didn’t really create the opportunities that we would have liked, so we would like to improve upon that on Saturday.”

Stoke take on a Chelsea side smarting from two defeats on the spin – losing to Crystal Palace in the top flight and Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League.

While they are without Ramires due to suspension, Jose Mourinho also has doubts over Ashley Cole and Samuel Eto’o for the visit, and Hughes wants to prepare well for whatever side Chelsea put out.

“When you go to a club who have resources like Chelsea do then it can be difficult to know what sort of team they will put up,” he added.

“At the moment though Jose has a few lads missing so we can gauge some kind of an idea of what he is likely to do.

“Until the team is confirmed an hour before kick-off you can never be sure, so we will do our homework on them, but we will put a lot of our efforts into making sure that we play to the levels that we have performed to recently.”

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