Hughton insisted Norwich deserved the points after games earlier in the season when they played well with no reward, although he warned them they cannot allow their performance levels to drop.
"It was very hard fought. Stoke are an excellent side, you can see that," said Hughton.
"They do what they do very well and they have quality in their team. You look at their bench at the players they can bring on, so this was a tough game.
"Towards the end of the game they will make it hard for you. You need to make sure you have got players in the right places and that you defend well. You need that bit of fortune where the ball bounces in the right way for you.
"We went through games where we played well and didn't get points. Now we have tightened up a bit and we are not conceding goals.
"These are close games, we can't afford to be short of what we have given, because the quality in this league means you have to fight and earn points."
The victory moved Norwich ahead of Stoke into 14th place in the table, and they now sit just five points behind sixth-placed Arsenal.