Hughes backs Blues quadruple

The west Londoners, who have been beaten only once so far in 2014-15, are currently top of the Barclays Premier League, through to the last 16 of the Champions League and on Tuesday progressed to the Capital One Cup semi-finals.

There has been plenty of talk about the prospect of them pulling off the unprecedented feat of winning all three competitions plus the FA Cup in the same campaign, and Hughes – a former Chelsea forward – would not be surprised to see it happen.

Asked ahead of his side’s home league match against Chelsea on Monday evening whether it was possible for Jose Mourinho’s men to win all four trophies this term, Hughes said: “Yes. I would have to say yes.

“They are strong enough. The players they have added to the squad have taken them to a different level from last year so I would suggest they are stronger this time around.

“You just sense their belief in what they are doing this year seems stronger than in recent times.

“It wouldn’t surprise me, although it’s a big ask for any team to do it.

“The talk of winning every trophy – I think maybe in-house they believe that themselves. It wouldn’t surprise me if they did. Players who are used to winning, which they have, expect to win every game they play.

“Once they get to a point in the season, certainly towards March, April, I think if they are still in all competitions, having won the Capital One Cup, then they will feel it’s a real option for them, a real possibility.

“You wouldn’t back against them if they get to that point. They have winners within their ranks, and when you’ve got a mentality like that the team is driven, and the club is driven from within so it takes a lot to deny them.

“They are going to be up against outstanding teams in the latter stages of the Champions League, but it’s certainly not beyond them.”

Put to him that securing the quadruple would make Chelsea the best team of all time, Hughes said: “Well, nobody else has done it.

“They’ve got the potential to do it. There will be some very good teams who will try to stand in the way and have something to say about it, but I don’t think, where we are sat today, you could argue that they’ve got no chance because that would be incorrect.

“They have a better chance than most teams.”

Although clearly mindful of how devastating Chelsea can be, Hughes does believe Stoke can beat them.

The Potters, currently 13th in the table, have struggled for consistency this season but have taken some high-profile scalps, beating Manchester City and Tottenham away and, in their last home game, seeing off Arsenal 3-2.

They also memorably defeated Chelsea by the same scoreline at the Britannia Stadium last term, while Mourinho’s side have shown some vulnerability of late, with their sole loss of the campaign coming in their last league away match, a 2-1 reverse at Newcastle.

Hughes said: “They are not unbeatable, as has been proved, and we fancy our chances against anybody.

“We’ve proved in the past we can make it difficult for teams, certainly here, so we will see where it takes us.”

Stoke forward Bojan Krkic sustained a hip injury in the 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace on December 13 but has trained since and Hughes expects him to be available to face Chelsea.

Defender Marc Muniesa has recovered from the hamstring complaint which prevented him from being involved in the Palace match, while Hughes is optimistic a knee problem suffered by Stephen Ireland will not rule the midfielder out of Monday night’s contest.

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