Mark Hughes says Wilfried Bony has made a 'positive impact' at Stoke
By Claire Corkery
Last Updated: 23/09/16 10:32am
Stoke City boss Mark Hughes has hit out at claims that he is unhappy with striker Wilfried Bony, saying the Ivory Coast international has made "a positive impact behind the scenes" at the club.
Bony has yet to score a goal since joining Stoke on loan from Manchester City on Deadline Day, and reports suggested that Hughes and his backroom staff at Stoke were disappointed by the 27-year-old's work-ethic.
"Let's nip this story in the bud. Unfortunately we are fair game for some areas of work, who feel they can get easy headlines. It is very predictable, and it all comes up at these times and these situations," Hughes said.
"To question players is totally untrue. Wilfried has come in and made a real positive impact behind the scenes. He hasn't had too many games in the past year and he is still getting up to speed.
"To say we are questioning his attitude is totally wrong. Some of the guys are struggling for a bit of form."
Hughes also took the opportunity to address claims that Giannelli Imbula, who joined Stoke for a record £18.3 million from Porto, was failing to provide value for money in his recent performances for the club.
"Giannelli played in the week and did fine. He is a clear talent, but if his form, like anybody else, isn't where it should be then he will come out of the team," Hughes said.
Stoke are currently sitting bottom of the Premier League table, having failed to win a game yet this season, with questions being raised about whether Hughes will continue as manager.
However, the 52-year-old, who took over as manager from Tony Pulis in 2013, was quick to defend his record at the Bet365 Stadium.
"It is to be expected when things aren't going well. We are always looking forward to try and improve and we wanted to start brightly," Hughes said.
"I think I have proved in my time here that I can take this club in the right direction, which is the top half of the Premier League, which is what I set off to do when I arrived here.
"Maybe next year we never hit the bottom spot, we didn't get the focus, but because we are sat there now we are getting the headlines. If you come back in a few months time and we are having the same conversation then it would be a different situation, but I don't think it will be."