Stoke began the new Premier League season brightly under Hughes, taking seven points from their opening four games, but successive defeats to Arsenal, Norwich and Fulham prior to the international break have left the team outside of the relegation zone on goal difference alone going into this weekend's home clash with West Brom.
"We were very pleased up until our last three games," Etherington told Sky Sports News Radio.
"We did okay at Arsenal in periods, but against Norwich we weren't at our best, nowhere near on the day, then Fulham they scored in the last minute when we had completely dominated the game."
Etherington believes overall performances have been good, but he accepts it will count for little unless Stoke can improve on their record of only four goals scored in seven games.
Etherington added: "The manager has been brilliant since he come in. From the first day of pre-season training he told us what he wants from us and which way he wants the team to play, and I think we've adapted fairly well to that.
"We've taken on board what he's saying and produced it on the pitch barring the odd bad performance.
"We're looking fairly good but it's all about putting the ball in the back of the net and making better choices in the final third, and that's something we've got to do and we've got to do it quickly, starting at home to West Brom on Saturday.
"We're struggling to score goals at the minute and it's something we've got to address very quickly because the only way you get points in this league is by scoring goals.
You can listen to the full interview with Etherington, in which he also discusses England's recent World Cup qualifying wins and the emergence of Andros Townsend, via the Soundcloud player below.