Mark Hughes believes Stoke might “express themselves a bit more” after securing three points against Hull.
Marco Silva’s Tigers had been level when Harry Maguire cancelled out Marko Arnautovic’s opener, yet substitute Peter Crouch restored Stoke’s lead before Xherdan Shaqiri’s wonder strike from 30 yards.
The victory sees Stoke end a four-game losing streak to move 11 points clear of a relegation zone, and Hughes hopes that cushion may help his side play with more freedom for the remainder of the season.
“It was a big three points. An important three points. We’ve come through a period that was arguably our most testing of the season in terms of fixtures.
“For the most part this season we’ve picked up points against the teams below us and that’s what we’ve done today.
“We eventually needed to make a change to get a bit more threat and they helped. Jon Walters plonked it on Crouch’s head and the game’s done from my point of view.
“Shaquiri’s goal was the icing on the cake.
“As a consequence of winning today I think we can probably express ourselves a bit more in the remaining games.”
Silva was not happy with the way Hull started the game.
“I’m not happy with our performance in general,” he told the BBC. “We need to do more. We need to improve. At this level we need to start strong and play 90 minutes, not 80 minutes.
“Our team only played 80 minutes because the first 10 we didn’t play. We can’t start the game like we started.
“We reacted well. We controlled the last 30 mins of the first half. The second half we reacted, started strong, scored the goal. When you have chances like we had in the game, we have to score.
“Only our team can change the situation. Five more games, the next game is a chance for more points.”