Hughes impressed with Stoke new boy’s early impact

Date published: Friday 25th August 2017 2:32

Stoke manager Mark Hughes is encouraged by how quickly Jese has settled in – both on and off the pitch.

The forward joined the club on loan from Paris St Germain last week and enjoyed a dream debut as he scored the only goal in Stoke’s 1-0 home win against Arsenal.

“It’s something we hoped would happen but he’d only been in the building two or three days and he was up against strong opposition,” said Hughes at his pre-match press conference.

“That’s really encouraging about the rest of the season. He’s integrated really quickly.

“The guys appreciate his ability and talent and as a guy he’s very sociable. The guys have taken to him and it’s the perfect start.

“It’s true to say that in terms of our group we’re very open to new and talented players coming into the group. They’re never seen as a risk or a threat.

“The dressing room understands what we want to achieve and if good talents become available we will bring them to the club. Players make it clear this is a good place to ply your trade.”

Jese’s goal got Stoke up and running this season, following their defeat at Everton on the opening day of the campaign.

Next up is a trip to West Brom on Sunday and Hughes wants his team to maintain the momentum they are building, following the midweek win over Rochdale in the Carabao Cup.

“The Arsenal game was the perfect game for us in terms of setting down a marker for this season,” said Hughes.

“We needed to put a few things to bed and the performance and the resilience were all on show. We were able to tick a few boxes, including beating a top-six side which we weren’t able to do last season. We followed that up with a professional performance on Wednesday night.

“In terms of form we are in a good place. We are in decent shape. Maybe not in as much turmoil as some people were suggesting!”

Xherdan Shaqiri remains an injury concern ahead of the trip to The Hawthorns.

A hamstring problem forced the Switzerland international off midway through the first half against Arsenal and Hughes has said he will give Shaqiri as long as possible to prove his fitness.

“He obviously felt something in the game and came off early – that was the correct thing to do. We’re hopeful but we won’t take any risks. He’s not ruled out yet,” said Hughes.

Hughes made eight changes against Rochdale and the likes of Jack Butland, Ryan Shawcross, Darren Fletcher, Jese and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting are expected to come back into the team.

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