The Potters’ low-quality 0-0 draw at relegated Burnley took them to 51 points – the most they have ever registered in the seven years they have been in the Premier League – and also ensures successive top-half finishes in the top flight for the first time in 40 years.
The record could have been brought up with a win, but Mame Diouf spurned two good opportunities to break the deadlock, while Jonathan Walters also missed a good chance for the Potters.
Although the manner of the result which got them the record may have been uninspiring, Hughes took great pride at the achievement.
“We got to 51 points, we are delighted with that, it’s a huge effort from everybody this year,” he said. “We got 50 last year and ninth position but we had to work harder for it this year for it, we’ve have had more injuries to key personnel that we’ve had to deal with but we have come though as a group and been really strong.
“Today wasn’t anything like the level we hit last weekend, it was difficult conditions, I think everybody could see that.
“In the end we just found a way to make sure we took something out of the game and thankfully results elsewhere went for us and we have confirmed ninth in the Premier League.
“Back-to-back top 10 finishes is something this club hasn’t done for 40-odd years so it’s a real achievement and something we are all very proud of. Next year we will test them again and try and do better than we have this year.”