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Hughes satisfied with sound defending in Stoke stalemate

Mark Hughes praised Stoke City’s defending in the 0-0 Premier League draw against West Ham at Upton Park.

Jack Butland made several saves and Glen Johnson ensured Stoke held on by completing an injury-time clearance off his own goal-line.

Hughes’ men had chances of their own, with Marko Arnautovic hitting the crossbar from a deflected free-kick, while substitute striker Mame Biram Diouf was twice denied by Adrian in the closing stages.

“Jack did okay. He had a little bit more to do than he has in recent weeks to be fair,” Hughes said. 

“We’ve protected him well and I thought defensively we were very sound and it’s another clean sheet for us, so we’re pleased with that.

“He’s played a part, Jack, but it wasn’t one of his more spectacular days because he didn’t need to.”

Hughes added that it was a “close game” with plenty of incident for a stalemate.

“We had any number of clear-cut chances, a couple in the first half I seem to recall,” he said. 

“Marco van Ginkel had a couple and then second half, Mame Biram Diouf hasn’t had a great deal of game-time in recent weeks and maybe that just took the edge off his finishing, but in fairness to the goalkeeper he’s stood up well and blocked them.

“Obviously with the injuries West Ham have they went a little bit more direct than possibly they normally do and we had to deal with that, so that was a different challenge.

“We stood up to that and we’ve taken a decent point.”

Hughes confirmed that playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri missed the game with a hamstring injury.

The Welshman added: “He had a scan and it just showed a little bit of damage right at the bottom of the hamstring, not in the muscle itself.

“We just erred on the side of safety as we’ve got a big period coming in, obviously with Christmas and we just felt that if he missed one game hopefully he’ll be okay for next week.”

Sat 12 Dec, 2015
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