Hughes targets first-half improvements

Date published: Thursday 15th January 2015 6:28

Hughes targets first-half improvements

Hughes watched his Stoke side go two goals down within the first half, with Eric Dier and Nacer Chadli scoring for the hosts.
But a second-half penalty from Marko Arnautovic handed the Potters hope, with Mame Biram Diouf capping off the comeback with a glancing header in the dying minutes.
Stoke had chances to win the game through Diouf and Stephen Ireland, but Hughes was more than happy to settle with a point – although he lambasted his side’s performance in the opening 45 minutes.
“First half it wasn’t what we were looking for,” Hughes told Sky Sports. “We allowed Spurs a little bit too much time, too much space, and played into their hands. I’m disappointed with both goals, really. 
“At 2-0 it was a big task for us but we understood what we needed to do: Disrupt their rhythm, and do the hard yards.
“I think the substitutions helped, we got more craft on later in the game and that opened things up. We got our reward and we were by far the better team in the second half.
“I’ve got a lot of good players who are disappointed when I don’t pick them. We were able to bring good quality on that affect the game.
“I’m delighted with the second-half performance, it wasn’t a complete 90-minute performance, but delighted to take the point.”
Speaking to BBC Sport, Hughes continued to laud the effect his substitutions had, particularly that of Stephen Ireland.
“After the break we understood what we needed to do better, talked about it in the break and came out with more resolve,” he added. “Our hard yards were good and we started to affect the game.
“The substitutions helped us, we just started to retain the ball in the final third and started to create chances.
“If the game had gone a little bit longer who knows we might have been greedy and claimed two more points.
“Stephen Ireland’s a very good player. I know the quality that he has. Since he’s come to Stoke he probably hasn’t had the opportunity he think he deserves but he knows the respect I have for him. We’re strong this year, we’ll be ok. 
“We just need to manage games better than we did in the first half and if we do that we’ll do well. The spirit has been great. The key is that we’re bringing good players in and good guys as well.”

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