Opposition View: Stoke City

By SFC Media time Wed 14 Dec Stoke vs Saints
Photo by Action Images

Stoke City boss Mark Hughes says Southampton remain a club that does things in the right way, as he prepares his side for the visit of the team he once played for.

Speaking generally about Saints, Hughes feels that the set up at St Mary’s is an enviable one, and believes the foundation to their success this season starts from the back.

“Southampton have had a decent enough start,” Hughes said in his pre-match press conference.

“It's always difficult when you change managers and the transition is longer when the manager comes from a different league.

“He [Claude Puel] has done well though and from the outside looking in Southampton always appoint well and recruit well. They have a good model there and have spent the money well that they've received for players in recent years.

“They're a good side,” he added. “They have good full backs and good depth as well. Their Academy continues to produce players who can come through.

“Defensively they've had good solid players who understand the league and they're very hard to break down. Fraser Forster is an outstanding ‘keeper and that combination with the good defensive line is good. It's very difficult to go into the Premier League to stop teams having chances and having a top class goalkeeper like him is clearly a benefit to them.”

Hughes has watched Saints closely and expects to see changes to Puel’s line-up from the game against Middlesbrough, but says he’ll be ready all the same as the Stoke boss prepares for his 400th game as a Premier League manager.

“Maybe that their team at the weekend isn't the one that we'll see but we'll be ready for them,” he said. “We have two games at home against teams that will be hoping to finish above them and if we can take points off them that will help us in the long 38 game period.

“To get 400 Premier League games under my belt as a manager, along with the staff I've got, is valuable to the team we're involved with.

“We've been doing it for a long time now and have a lot of experience. There's not too much I haven't seen or experienced but you can never stop learning.”


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