Mark Hughes believes Stoke are being unfairly treated by referees after yet another controversial penalty decision went against his side.
The 1-0 defeat at Everton was settled by Shay Given’s own goal – Leighton Baines’ penalty rebounded off the post and the goalkeeper – after Phil Bardsley was penalised for tangling with Ashley Williams.
Last week Stoke had a spot-kick awarded against them when Ryan Shawcross’ tussled with Manchester City’s Nicolas Otamendi at a corner and Hughes is beginning to see a pattern developing and believes his team are suffering more than most..
“I feared this would happen at the start of the season that we would be penalised more readily than other teams,” said Hughes when asked what difference the new directive on holding in the box had made.
“We are getting the thin edge of the wedge and being penalised.
“There was a similar element in the Tottenham-Liverpool game that wasn’t given – maybe because it was two high-profile teams on the TV and they don’t get them given against them.
“The one today, there was a lot of movement in the box, Ashley Williams has gone down, whether he clipped his own heels or not.
“There was no pushing, no pulling. I thought it was very harsh. We are seriously thinking of changing our approach to set-plays.
“If that is how games are going to be refereed, we accept that but it has to be across the board. You guys (the media) had highlighted pictures of Ryan with three or four pictures in the papers this morning.
“He is not the only one but when it gets mentioned there is a picture of Ryan Shawcross. We have to consider zonal marking, which I have never done in my career, or we may have to take certain individuals away from man-marking.
“Hopefully it will settle down and everyone will revert to a bit of sanity.”