Mark Hughes feels there is more to come from Stoke City in 2016 but is enjoying the feelgood factor surrounding the club at the present time.
Stoke’s 4-3 victory at Everton on Monday propelled them up to 10th – just two points behind fifth-placed Crystal Palace – while they have been awarded plenty of plaudits for their attractive style of play.
Hughes admitted his team was “ahead of where they wanted to be at this stage” but is hopeful they can achieve even more over the second half of the season.
He said at Thursday’s media conference: “Who knows where we can finish. Whether there is a changing in the order I’m not too sure, but we are in a good position on merit.
“Teams like ourselves believe we can back our quality against any side in the division now. If we can keep it going we will do well.
“If we find some real consistency then we will finish in a very strong position.
“It’s a credit to the players for producing what they are, in the manner that they are. We are getting good publicity at the moment.
“We are getting the headlines and rightly so. People are sitting up and taking notice of us now.
“We want to enjoy a better second half than first. If we can do that then it will be a really strong campaign for us.
“We have a big month ahead of us with big Premier League games and a League Cup semi-final. It is an exciting period for us, but challenging.”
The attacking trident of Marko Arnautovic, Bojan Krkic and Xherdan Shaqiri have been key to Stoke’s form this season with the Austrian impressing in particular in recent games.
Hughes added: “Marko has been a big player for us and has always made an impact. Maybe he had quiet periods previously but he has added goals now.
“He likes attention and you won’t get more of that than by scoring goals, which he has been doing on a regular basis for us this season.”
Hughes could boost his squad further in the January transfer window.
“You have to be ready to move quickly, which we are. If the right player becomes available then we will be ready to act,” he said.
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