Mark Hughes says the efforts of goalkeeper Jack Butland kept the scoreline respectable at home to Everton on Saturday as Stoke City lost 3-0 for the third successive Premier League game.
The goalkeeper brought down Tom Cleverley to hand Everton a penalty from which Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring at the Britannia Stadium, Seamus Coleman and Aaron Lennon putting the visitors out of sight by half-time.
Butland, though, made excellent second-half saves from Lukaku and Arouna Kone to prevent the hosts suffering a mauling.
Having lost by the same score to Manchester United and Leicester in recent weeks, Hughes emphasised the trouble he has had dealing with injuries to defenders Geoff Cameron, Ryan Shawcross and Marc Wilson.
The Stoke manager is hoping to have more options at his disposal when he takes his team to Bournemouth next weekend but, in the meantime, he was grateful for the contribution of Butland.
“They broke quickly with numbers and when that happens you need your goalkeeper to keep the score respectable and thankfully Jack did that. He made two outstanding saves,” Hughes told Sky Sports.
“From our point of view, we need to have a much better level than we showed today. Defensively we’re struggling for selection and that continuity isn’t there at the moment but we’ll get that right.
“Hopefully next weekend we’ll get more players back and we’ll look more solid.”
Hughes also bemoaned the quality of his team’s attacking play, as Stoke failed to score for the fourth league game in succession.
“We need a better end product. We had a number of half chances again today but nothing that was a real opportunity that we missed,” he said.
“We’re not feeding the strikers, we’ve not got enough movement in the final third and, with the players we have, we should be doing better.
“We’ve invested a lot in the team and there’s a huge responsibility on us all to do something. We’ll bounce back.
“We fluffed our lines to a certain extent today but we’ve got a clear week and that will help us leading into Bournemouth next week.”