Afellay: Hughes deserves credit for balancing Stoke’s style

Date published: Monday 18th January 2016 2:29 - James Marshment

Ibrahim Afellay says Mark Hughes has made “a big difference” in helping Stoke to balance style and substance this season. 

Manager Hughes has steered the Potters away from relying heavily on a physical approach by recruiting some big-name European stars, such as Afellay, Bojan and Xheridan Shaqiri.

Stoke can still scrap when they need to, though, with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger suggesting on Sunday that the hosts had tried to draw the Gunners into a physical battle during the 0-0 draw at the Britannia.

There were no bookings in the game, however, and Hughes took issue with the Frenchman’s comments. .

Midfielder Afellay thinks Hughes is overseeing a good balance of styles.

“We have creative players and also the guys that were already here, they are doing very well,” he said.

“You see the hand of the coach – he makes a big difference.

“He has changed Stoke’s play and you can see – to work very hard is the most important thing, and then you also play football. This is the best combination, I think.”

Stoke are seventh in the Premier League, six points off the top four.

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