Stoke City winger Xherdan Shaqiri is facing up to a fortnight out, but Mark Hughes was delighted with Joselu’s contribution in his absence against Norwich City.
Shaqiri missed Wednesday night’s 3-1 win at the Britannia Stadium with a hamstring injury and will sit out Sunday’s game against Arsenal and the trip to Leicester City the following weekend, also putting his participation in the second leg of Stoke’s Capital One Cup semi-final against Liverpool in doubt.
“It looks like he’s probably going to miss 10 to 14 days,” said Hughes. “He’s got damage to his hamstring unfortunately after pulling up in training.
“We could have done with a bit of his guile (against Norwich), but in the end we didn’t need him.”
Stoke secured the victory, which moved them up to seventh in the Premier League, through goals from Jon Walters, Joselu and an own goal from Ryan Bennett, though they were assisted by the 31st-minute red card shown to Gary O’Neil for a reckless challenge on Ibrahim Afellay.
Hughes was particularly pleased with Joselu, who has struggled for opportunities since his summer move for Hannover but has contributed two goals and an assist in his last three Premier League games as he continues to settle.
“We had to be patient and credit to Norwich because they were organised, got people back into position and always had a threat with their pace,” Hughes said.
“At 1-1 we were a bit frustrated, but kept going and in the end Joselu produced a great strike from the edge of the box.
“Of late he’s really added to the team and his contribution is quite marked at the moment. His link-up play is good, and his understanding of players around him and ability to play players in is good as well.”
On O’Neil’s challenge, Hughes was as baffled as his Norwich counterpart Alex Neil as to why the midfielder had even made it, with the ball about to go out for a throw-in.
“It was a strange decision from the lad to go in with that challenge,” added Hughes.
“It just didn’t make sense really. We were just shepherding the ball out to take a throw in.
“It looked like both his legs had left the ground and he did what was like a scissor motion. It is a dangerous challenge – I think everyone accepts that.”
Hughes – whose men are up to seventh, only four points off the top four – also revealed the hamstring injury that ruled Xherdan Shaqiri out of the game is set to keep the Potters winger sidelined for 10 to 14 days.