Monday, January 23, 2017

Stoke deserved to beat Chelsea, says Hughes

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 5 Mar 2016

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Mark Hughes felt Stoke City deserved more than their 1-1 draw with Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday.

Stoke fell behind to Bertrand Traore’s powerful 39th-minute strike – the 20-year-old spearheading Chelsea’s attack in the absence of Diego Costa – but enjoyed the majority of possession in an open second half.

Marko Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri were both denied by Thibaut Courtois in the second half, but the Belgian was beaten five minutes from time when he parried a cross straight to Mame Biram Diouf, who headed home the equaliser.

Although Hughes was pleased to have come away from Stamford Bridge with a point, he felt Stoke warranted all three against what he deemed a surprising Chelsea line-up, with Cesc Fabregas starting on the bench.

“We’re grateful to equalise but we deserved more from the game,” Hughes told BBC Sport. “It was an excellent away performance; we took the game to Chelsea.

“Their goal came out of the blue, it was a great bit of individual skill. I felt we were a strong team and made things happen.

“I was a bit surprised with their team. I thought they had a chance to get in the Champions League. We’re really pleased with the performance.”

Diouf’s goal came seconds before being replaced by Joselu, and Hughes considered it fortunate he grabbed the goal ahead of his withdrawal.

“That’s the bit of luck you need. He put a great shift in. I felt it was right to give him a go in the centre with his pace and movement,” the coach added.

“He was looking a bit tired so I thought I’d freshen it up. Luckily he scored just before I brought him off.”

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