Hughes: Stoke players will soon reach their top level

Date published: Saturday 17th September 2016 3:00

Mark Hughes: Backing his players to hit top form soon

Mark Hughes: Backing his players to hit top form soon

Mark Hughes is confident the tide will soon be turning for Stoke once all of his players reach “their top level” in the Premier League.

The Potters are bottom of the Premier League having taken just one point from the opening four games of their campaign.

Three successive defeats have followed a 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough4-1 at home to Manchester City, 1-0 at Everton and 4-0 to Tottenham at the bet365 Stadium last Saturday.

Manager Hughes feels it has been a particularly tough set of fixtures with which to start the season, but he also has no doubt some of his players are not playing at the required level.

But, emphasising he knows what he is doing in the Premier League, the Welshman has predicted positive results are not far away.

“It is maybe to do with the fixtures that have been thrown at us, along with not dealing with certain elements of the game you have to,” Hughes said, ahead of Sunday’s trip to Crystal Palace.

“We haven’t as yet been able to put together a really solid 90-minute Premier League performance.

“That’s to do with the opposition not allowing you to play the game you want, and with early-season form – we have a number of players who are maybe not at the level we know they are capable of.

“You need virtually everybody at their top level to get results in the Premier League and at the moment, we’ve had two or three not quite at the level they need to be.

“But that will change and change very quickly, we feel”

He added: “We look at everything. Every week and every circumstance and every game throws up different problems that you need to deal with. And that is what we do, game to game.

“Underpinning all that is the work we know works in this league.

“I’ve been a Premier League manager 12 seasons, I think it is, so I know what works at this level and have plenty of Premier League wins under my belt.

“The work we do is geared towards getting positive results and that is what it will get us.

“We are just having a period now at the beginning of the season that we didn’t want and it brings a little bit of pressure, but we are only four games in.”

Asked when he might start to worry, Hughes said: “We are not at that point yet. It’s four games.

“We’ve got fixtures coming up where we feel we have a real opportunity to get back on track and to winning ways again. There’s no concern here.”

Mame Diouf and Glen Johnson look set to be available for the clash with Palace, who have four points from their first four games.

Forward Diouf and full-back Johnson have been sidelined by hamstring and thigh injuries respectively, but both have been in training this week.

Winger Xherdan Shaqiri remains out due to his calf problem.

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