LONDON — Stoke City manager Mark Hughes wasn’t happy with the officiating in his teams 1-0 loss at Fulham on Saturday, but he was more than happy with the Potters display.
Post-game, Hughes lambasted the officials for not giving Stoke two first half penalties and felt that his side didn’t deserve to lose the game.
“I think in terms of the team most likely to win the game, I thought that was us,” Hughes said. “I think we had a lot of control on the game, we tried to create opportunities for ourselves. We had some clear opportunities on set plays and good opportunities to pick the right pass but never quite did it. But in terms of the team more likely to win the game, I felt it was totally us.”
But it wasn’t to be.
Hughes believes those two early penalty decisions, as Philippe Senderos took down Stephen Ireland and Fernando Amorebieta appeared to have hauled down Johnathan Walters in the box, were pivotal.
The latter was given for a foul outside the box, when it looked like a penalty, and Hughes wasn’t happy with Fulham winger Pajtim Kasami pushing Erik Pieters, either.
“We should have had two penalties and the boy Kasami should have been sent off in my view,” Hughes said. “Those are key moments that shape the outcome of the game. Those are the ones you want the referee and his officials to get right. Unfortunately it affected us in a negative way. Given the time of those incidents, it would have swung the game totally in our direction.”
Stoke have only scored four goals in their opening seven Premier League games this season, so Hughes mixed things up a little by playing Marco Arnautovic up top with Stephen Ireland supporting him. But the Potters only came close through set pieces, as Robert Huth twice had headers cleared off the line by Sascha Riether, and Stoke’s central defender also headed over in a purple patch of chances in the second half.
Hughes is concerned with the lack of goals, but admits it’s a problem that’s plagued Stoke even when Tony Pulis was their manager in the past.
“I wasn’t disappointed with the performance today,” Hughes said. “It was a much better level. I’ve been more than happy with what we’re trying to produce. The end product is something we need to address because we’re not getting on the end of things and not taking chances when we do create them. But that’s been the bug bear of the team for quite some time, even before I came.”
And staying with the theme of his post-match conference, Hughes thinks his side were hard done by, and that Fulham got lucky to grab all three points.
“Over the course of the 90 minutes I think we deserved to get something,” Hughes said. “They got a break, a misplaced pace from ourselves, and were able to play a ball into the box. A couple of ricochets and it lands at Darren Bent’s feet. He is the one guy you don’t want in those situations.”