Premier league: Pieters says strong Stoke squad means players fighting for places
Last Updated: 17/08/14 2:50pm
Stoke City's strength in depth means players will soon lose their places in the team if they are not performing up to scratch, says defender Erik Pieters.
The Potters have made six summer signings, including Nigeria winger Victor Moses on season-long loan from Chelsea, who was ineligible for Saturday's 1-0 loss at home to Aston Villa.
Stoke boss Mark Hughes emphasised the strength of his fully-fit squad ahead of the Premier League opener by saying that several senior players he has every intention of retaining would not be able to feature in the match.
The likes of Robert Huth, Jon Walters and Steve Sidwell were unused substitutes, while Moses, Peter Odemwingie, Geoff Cameron and Andy Wilkinson were among those not in the matchday 18.
Stoke lost after Villa's Andreas Weimann scored in the 50th minute, and 26-year-old Holland full-back Pieters said of the hosts' performance: "Of course you are disappointed to concede a goal.
"But it was early in the second half, so you have a lot of time to recover and get back into the game if you keep playing football. But we were just too sloppy. We weren't sharp enough.
"The thing is, we have a big squad now. Everyone knows that and you have to perform every week.
"If you don't, it is simple - you are out. We have enough players to take your place in every position. It is good for the team."
Asked if he thought the new players needed more time to gel with their team-mates, Pieters added: "I don't think they have time.
"It is the Premier League and you have to be there from the start. If you are not, then you have to look in the mirror and say you have to do better."
Stoke announced Moses' signing just prior to the Villa match and Hughes subsequently indicated there will be no further additions to the squad in this transfer window, although "one or two" players could be departing.
"It's fair to say, I think our business is done now," Hughes said on www.stokecityfc.com.
"One or two players may be leaving the club but I don't envisage anyone else coming in. We're done now - it's a case of working with the group that we've got."
Regarding 23-year-old Moses, Hughes said: "We're very happy that Victor has come to the club.
"He's a player with a great deal of potential but he hasn't played as much football as he would have wanted to in recent years.
"He's desperate to play and that's why he has come to us. He's a good young player and will bring pace and power."