Stoke City manager Mark Hughes hopes that his team can take advantage of Jose Mourinho’s absence during tomorrow’s clash at Britannia Stadium. He also said that he fully understand Mourinho’s decision not to appeal against the stadium ban.
Hughes told his pre-match press conference:
”There’s a lot of criticism getting fired at Chelsea’s team and manager, but most top players react to that. At some point I’m sure their season will start to turn around, we just have to make sure it isn’t here on Saturday.”
“I’ve said before that most top players and managers react to situations like that and at some point I’m sure their season will turn around. ”
“We just have to make sure it doesn’t happen tomorrow evening. Once the game starts that’s when our focus really narrows.”
“I’m not quite sure of the full details of why he is banned but obviously that may well impact negatively on the team, or it might be a positive. It’s a tough one to call from our point of view whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing.”
“You would think without his influence at half-time or just prior to the game, that would take something away. But it’s always good to see Jose in the dugout opposite and I know our crowd enjoy seeing opposition managers and that gets them going.”
”He’s got a little bit of previous in this regard so we’ll have to wait and see but I don’t anticipate any problems. I’m not sure how close to the ground he’s allowed to come.”
‘‘I would have thought it’s up to the FA to monitor and police that. Who’s to say he hasn’t got a phone to his ear and in touch with his coaches? Who says if he’s allowed to do that? Unless an FA official is sat on his knee who’s to say?”
”Stadium bans don’t happen very often. But Jose has got a bit of gripe with the powers that be and they’ve come down hard on him at the moment. It is appropriate? I don’t know but he’s not going to be around.’’
”Jose’s had any number of run-ins and maybe got a bit tired of trying to argue his case.”
”Maybe it wouldn’t have been served to argue the case. That may well impact negatively on his team, it might be a positive. It’s a tough one to call from our point of view.”
”Without his influence at half-time you’d have thought it would take something away from them. It’s always good to see Jose in the opposition dugout.”
”He’s been at top clubs dominated by the media. It’s not something he’ll be fazed by. He’s experienced it at every club. Maybe it’s a different kind of pressure because not too many times his league form and position in the league have been questioned.”
Hughes recalled also the latest victory over Chelsea in the League One Cup:
“Those emotions and feelings and still there so we can use them to our benefit. We know how hard we’ll have to work but we know we’re capable of that and we’re looking forward to it.
“We’re not in bad shape but we need to improve our home form we did that against Chelsea a couple of weeks ago.
“They have individuals that can turn the game towards them and you’re always aware of that.”