Stoke Boss Mark Hughes Content With Side's Display Despite Opening Day Defeat to Everton

Sunday August 13th, 2017

Mark Hughes has revealed he was content with Stoke City's overall display despite suffering a 1-0 Premier League defeat at the hands of Everton.

The Potters boss told the Stoke Sentinel that his charges had performed admirably on the opening day of the 2017/18 campaign, and would have deserved a point if not for a romantic Wayne Rooney strike on the cusp of half-time.

Stoke more than matched Everton's performance in the first half, and Hughes claimed that his side controlled the game during the opening 45 until Rooney's intervention.

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He said: "I thought we did fine today. I thought we had a lot of control, certainly first half.

"We needed to get to half-time and probably the only chance Everton created first half was the quality ball into the box for you-know-who, who was always going to be part of the story today.

"That was always the worry and that's how it panned out. I don't think there was too much between the two sides.

"I thought it was ok. We have got certain types of players like Bojan and Shaqiri and I think that's where they will be most effective, so it's an option for us.

"Everton had to change their shape second half to address what we were doing to them, so it shows it's good value. Overall, I was pleased with our performance."

Rooney marked his second league debut for Toffees with a superb header to seal all three points for his boyhood club, but the Staffordshire side almost nicked a share of the spoils at the end.

Xherdan Shaqiri's vicious strike seemed goalbound until Rooney's fellow Blues debutant Jordan Pickford produced an outlandish save to turn the effort behind for a corner, and Hughes added that it was the Everton pair's quality that ultimately settled the contest in the end.

He said: "At the end of the day, the two guys that Everton have paid a lot of money for have won the game (Rooney) and protected the result (Pickford).

"The save from Pickford at the end was an outstanding save from Shaqiri. That's what top keepers do."

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