Hughes wants Stoke to excite Britannia Stadium

Mark Hughes wants his Stoke side to whip the Britannia Stadium crowd into a frenzy as the Potters look to end a miserable run against Chelsea on Saturday.

Charlie Adam of Stoke

Hughes was among the Chelsea team the last time Stoke beat the Blues in a League Cup game in 1995, while their most recent league victory came 38 years ago.

It is not something Hughes will be dwelling on, the Potters boss saying: "You can use those stats if they're in your favour as a positive but if they're negative you probably skirt round them.

"I don't think I'll mention that fact before the game. We have to focus on the future and not look too much into the past."

Their Premier League meetings have not been completely one-sided, with Stoke holding Chelsea to draws at the Britannia Stadium in 2010/11 and 2011/12.

Under Tony Pulis, the Potters crowd delighted in frustrating the big guns and proving people wrong.

They have lost only once at home since Hughes took over in the summer but patience appeared to be wearing thin during Wednesday's goalless draw with Cardiff and boos rang out as the players left the pitch.

A 2-0 victory over 10-man Sunderland last month is Stoke's only win in their past 11 league games, and Hughes knows his players must do more to excite the fanbase.

He said: "The one thing we've got going for us is our record at the Britannia. You always sense there's a little bit of apprehension in opposition teams.

"The Britannia needs to be a really difficult place to come to, and for the most part it has been this season.

"To be able to get the crowd with us we have to give them something to cheer and we've got to get momentum in our play and have sustained pressure.

"If we can do that then Chelsea know it will be difficult for them."

Wednesday at least brought a point and a clean sheet, and Hughes was happy with the reaction to their 4-0 mauling by Everton last weekend.

He said: "We weren't able to find that final pass or that key moment in the game, but that was all that was missing from our performance I felt.

"It was exactly what we needed after Everton. I thought we showed a lot of confidence and got back to where I expected us to be. That's good leading into the Chelsea game.

"It's a big test, obviously. At the moment they seem to be scoring lots of goals and have lots of options in terms of personnel.

"It's very difficult to second guess which way they'll go because they have any number of combinations of players that will cause you a problem.

"But the easy part is knowing that you're going to be up against quality players that will test you."

Chelsea are in a fine run of form having won six of their past eight Premier League games to move into second place behind Arsenal.

Jose Mourinho's return to English football has not been entirely smooth but Hughes does not expect any negativity to have had an effect on the Portuguese.

"He's gone back to a club that he knows and obviously the reception that he got when he went back and the goodwill that surrounds him and Chelsea is there for everybody to see," said Hughes, a childhood Chelsea fan.

"The Premier League is a league he knows well and knows he can be successful in.

"Maybe some people looked at a couple of indifferent performances and questioned a little bit about what's gone on, but Jose's been at top clubs and that's what happens at top clubs. It's not something that's going to faze him."

Stoke's main injury doubt is Erik Pieters, who will have a late fitness test on a groin strain he suffered against Cardiff.

He is rated as very doubtful so Spaniard Marc Muniesa is likely to deputise while Marc Wilson should keep his place in central defence and Jonathan Walters has recovered from the dead leg that halted his run of consecutive Premier League starts at 102.

comments powered by Disqus

Most Popular News

News & Update