Alan Pardew has praised Mark Hughes as a “great manager”, but believes he faces a simpler task than his rival when Crystal Palace host Stoke in the FA Cup’s fourth round on Saturday.
Hughes has impressively rebuilt the reputation that was damaged by his sacking at QPR in 2012 by transforming Stoke from a one-dimensional, direct team into one that is both fluid and attractive.
His recruitment of talents like Bojan and Xherdan Shaqiri gives them a reasonable chance of success in the cup, but after their Capital One Cup semi-final penalty shootout defeat at Liverpool on Tuesday there is a risk they will be under-prepared for Saturday’s fixture.
Pardew has also made little secret of his desire to prioritise the competition this season, believing it represents a fine chance for his team to win a trophy, and when asked about playing opposite Hughes in the 1990 final when the then-Manchester United striker’s equalising goal denied Pardew and Palace success, he said: “He was a fantastic player.
“And it doesn’t always translate (to management), he’s one of the few great players that has turned into a great manager, and there’s not many who’ve done that, so hats off to him.
“Stoke’s result (at Liverpool), which was tough on them, because I thought they probably deserved to go through, will make it a game that’s important for both clubs.
“We both sense it’s a competition we can win. We feel we can win it. Over 90 minutes of football it’s a more even playing field, and therefore we’re going to attack it.
“I’d be foolish to say we haven’t got an advantage, we have. A tough game they had this week, and probably Mark is toying over what’s his best team, who’s got the energy to go and play a tough cup game.
“It is a little bit easier for us in terms of decision making, and going to the game. Those factors might play a part. (But) they might not, sometimes the mid-week game gets you in the zone, so you can never really tell.”