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Damage was done in the first half, admits Hughes

21 październik 2017 19:19

Mark Hughes acknowledged Stoke City were blown off course in the first half as they failed to master the tricky conditions in a 2-1 home defeat against Bournemouth on Saturday.

The Cherries - who had not previously picked up a point on their travels this term - seized control of the game with two quick-fire goals when playing with a strong wind at their backs in the first half, Andrew Surman putting them ahead before Junior Stanislas added a second from the penalty spot two minutes later.

Although the hosts improved after the break, with Mame Biram Diouf getting a goal back in the 63rd minute, struggling Stoke still slipped to a fifth defeat in their last six outings in all competitions.

Hughes refused to accept his side's poor start was down to his players still suffering a hangover from last weekend's deflating 7-2 loss away at Manchester City.

"We didn't cope with the conditions too well in the first half," he told Sky Sports.

"We made a couple of mistakes, including giving away a penalty almost immediately after they'd scored the opening goal. They moved the ball, as they do, quite quickly, so it was hard to get any momentum.

"Obviously the conditions favoured them. We were trying to get out but it was difficult to progress up the field. In the second half, with the wind at our backs, we were better.

"We got some decent balls into good areas but couldn't find the final touches we needed.

"Bournemouth, who did exactly the same last year, killed the game and wasted time. Unfortunately, when you go behind, that's the difficult thing. As an away team, why wouldn't they do that?

"The damage was done in the first half unfortunately. We've just got to get back on and get on with it."

The disappointing result sees Stoke slip into the bottom three ahead of next Saturday's tricky trip to high-flying Watford.

"There's no time to be feeling sorry for yourselves. You have to understand that games in the Premier League are tough, whether you're at the top, middle or bottom," Hughes added.

"We couldn't get the break to get back on level terms, but it was always going to be difficult once Bournemouth set their stall out.

"We will have to be better next week. Watford are playing well, so it's another challenge. We just have to pick ourselves up and go again."

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