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Everton v Stoke

Wednesday, 15 July 2015, 10:00

Friendly Match

Hughes impressed by Saints

Stoke manager Mark Hughes is looking for an overdue home win to ensure he can really celebrate his 50th birthday.

Last Updated: 01/11/13 at 20:19 Post Comment

Mark Hughes: Wants a late birthday present

Mark Hughes: Wants a late birthday present

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But Hughes is expecting a tough afternoon against the form team - and in particular form defence - in the Premier League - Southampton.

Saints, who Hughes once played for, have conceded just three goals this season, the second best top-flight record in Europe behind Roma.

Hughes said: "We're facing a good team. Southampton have had a great start and are on a good run of form, and you can see why, because they work exceptionally hard and make it difficult to play your own game.

"They have a certain way of playing and what's happening is all the players are committing to what they're trying to achieve in each game, and it's working.

"They've got good players, they invested a lot of money in the summer. Credit to them.

"It's a good club, a club I was at for a short period of time, and I really enjoyed working down there. It's different circumstances because we were at the wrong end but it was always a club with good people and good fans.

"We've got to be up for that challenge and make sure we start addressing our home form. We need to improve in terms of what we've produced at home and the weekend is the best place to start."

The Welshman turned 50 on Friday and he is hoping it will be a double celebration come Saturday night.

"I always said at the beginning we'll keep the best elements of what's given success to Stoke in the past and we'll try to add a bit more creative play in the final third if we can," he said.

"To all intents and purposes I think that's what we've done. We've had a hard period, we've played nine games and we've played a number of the top sides in the Premier League.

"Performance wise there's been very few games where I've been disappointed with what we've produced, but we can't keep on saying that and at the weekend we need to get a positive result.

"Victories shape your whole weekend so if I'm going to have a good birthday weekend then we need to win."

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