Shawcross leaps to defence of under-pressure Stoke boss Hughes

Date published: Sunday 22nd October 2017 12:11 - Robert McCarthy

Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross has delivered an endorsement of Mark Hughes after Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to Bournemouth left the Potters in the relegation zone.

The Cherries struck twice in 133 seconds in the first period when Andrew Surman’s 16th-minute goal was followed by a Junior Stanislas penalty, which Shawcross gave away by tripping Benik Afobe in the box.

Mame Diouf pulled one back for Stoke in the second period but, having conceded 20 times in nine fixtures, they slipped into the bottom three on goal difference.

The Potters hierarchy have historically backed their managers through lean spells and there is no sense that Hughes’ position as manager is under any scrutiny despite their run of five defeats in their last six matches.

And, in the midst of that sticky spell, Shawcross has lent his support to Hughes.

“The manager is absolutely brilliant,” he told Stoke City+.

“We had a great game plan but unfortunately we couldn’t produce the goods. It was the players’ fault.

“Obviously the players are down, but the manager is always confident and always gives you that boost. And like he always says, we’ll be fine.

“You look at the table at the end of the season, not 10 games in.

“If we can get a win next week then everything is a lot brighter, but it is 38 games this league, it’s not nine, it’s not 10, it’s where you finish at the end of the season, and that’s all our target is.”

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