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Imbula has all the talent in the world – Hughes

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes said club record purchase Giannelli Imbula has “all the talent in the world” after the midfielder starred in Sunday’s 2-1 Premier League win against West Ham.

The visitors took the lead at the Britannia Stadium through Michail Antonio, but Imbula’s powerful left-footed drive got Stoke level shortly after the interval.

Mame Biram Diouf then headed in a late Charlie Adam corner to give Stoke all three points, with Hughes delighted by his team’s response and the performance of star man Imbula in particular.

“Imbula has all the talent in the world – it was a great finish and he worked his socks off,” Hughes told Sky Sports. “Maybe some people suggested that he hasn’t got that element to his play. 

“Once he gets stronger and once he understands the Premier League, once he sees how effective he can be when he uses his attributes in the right manner, then he’s going to be a great player for us.”

Hughes highlighted Stoke’s mental strength after they ended a six-game run without a Premier League win to secure ninth spot above last season’s champions Chelsea.

“I was really delighted in the second half,” the Welshman said. “I thought we started brightly enough, then we conceded against the run of play in my view, just from a set-play, and once again we lost a bit of confidence.

“But the difference in the second half was we were determined to play our football and get on the ball, make angles for each other and not just knock long balls, because we’re not set up for that. 

“All season we’ve been getting good results by passing and moving and supporting people and that’s what we did. We had to ride our luck a little bit towards the end, they were throwing players forward, the goalkeeper as well, but in the end we deserved the three points.

“That’s three times in the top 10 since I’ve been here and in fairness that’s what we do, that’s what I do and that’s what my staff do.

“For almost every season I’ve been involved in football at Premier League level, if I get a full season I’m never lower than 10th. 

“We need to remind ourselves sometimes of how well we’re doing and how well this group of players have done this year.”

Sun 15 May, 2016
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