Xherdan Shaqiri loving life at Stoke despite Ottmar Hitzfeld comments, says Mark Hughes
By Michael Cantillon
Last Updated: 02/12/16 11:15am
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has said that Swiss playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri is "loving it" at Stoke regardless of Ottmar Hitzfeld's comments that he's is "no man's land" at the club.
Former Bayern Munich and Switzerland manager Hitzfeld made the comments on Thursday, claiming that the Potters were unexciting and that he would be "sorry if Shaqiri would play forever at Stoke".
Ahead of his side's clash with Burnley on Saturday, Hughes responded to the comments by inviting Hitzfeld up to Staffordshire to take in a game.
"Maybe he needs to come to the game this weekend and see the game, see the excitement of Premier League football and Stoke football," said Hughes.
"He's perhaps speaking from a place where he hasn't experienced too many games at the bet365 Stadium.
"Shaq is loving it. Perhaps he should have spoken to him before he came out with that comment."
Shaqiri has been in fine form for Stoke so far this season, notching three goals from eight appearances as the club sit in 11th position in the table.
The 25-year-old arrived at the club in July 2015 in a £12m deal, but Hughes was cagey when asked about his transfer plans for the upcoming January window.
"January is one you have to be careful with," Hughes added. "If good players become available and they're within our means we'll try to bring them into the club.
"January is always difficult. Ibi Afellay will be available after Christmas and will be like a new signing."
Joe Allen is available again for Saturday's game after suspension but Ryan Shawcross and Glenn Whelan remain doubts, while Geoff Cameron and Phil Bardsley are definitely out.
"We're back on track," said Hughes. "At the start of the year we look at what points we can realistically pick up and we're probably about where we thought."