Mark Hughes critical of Stoke's collapse in 5-1 defeat to Tottenham
By Peter Smith
Last Updated: 09/12/17 6:51pm
Mark Hughes criticised his Stoke team's game management after they fell to a 5-1 defeat away to Tottenham.
The visitors conceded four second-half goals at Wembley, and could have suffered an even heavier defeat it was not for some impressive stops from goalkeeper Jack Butland.
It was the fourth time in a row Spurs had beaten Stoke by four clear goals and Hughes says his side have to learn how to hang in with the top teams when they fall behind.
"At half-time, we were 1-0 down but I was quite encouraged by how we'd played," said Hughes. "We looked resolute and they hadn't created too many chances. Their goal was an own goal from a couple of deflections so we were unlucky in that regard.
"I thought we were quite bright and had some good moments, so the talk at half-time was all about making sure we stayed in the game and at some point we felt we'd get the opportunity to get back on level terms.
"Obviously that mindset went out the window when we conceded very, very poorly and too easily on two occasions very early on in the second half. And from that point onwards it was always going to be a difficult afternoon.
"We needed to still be resolute and do the fundamentals well and bide our time and if it's going to be 3-0 then that's how it should have been. We needed just to take our medicine at that level.
"But we got a bit ragged, did too many wrong things and that's when good teams like Spurs can pick you off. We've got to learn from it because it's happened too many times."
Hughes praised his goalkeeper Butland for a string of fine saves, but says his outfield players must do more to protect the England shot-stopper.
"When we got ragged at the end, they had too many clear opportunities," said Hughes. "We needed to do better to protect Jack today but he's a top keeper. Obviously he's going to be hurting because of the amount of goals that are going in at the moment. We need to address that very, very quickly.
"Today was a difficult one for us, we always knew it would be and we weren't expected to win. But it was the manner of the defeat, we need to be better, more resolute and understand what it takes to stay in the game. We have good pros who just need to step up and do the right things at the right time.
"It's about making sure they understand what's needed in certain moments in games. It's no good doing it for part of the game, you need to do it for the full 90 minutes and if you do that then you can get something out of games against the top teams.
"If not they can test you constantly and you can be found wanting if you're not doing the correct things every time."