Hughes:”What happens to Chelsea isn’t our priority”

Hughes:”What happens to Chelsea isn’t our priority”

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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.”

”You saw midweek in the Champions League (against Dinamo Kiev) that even when they’re struggling somewhat they still have individuals who can turn the game for them. You’re always conscious of that that. Even if you do everything right they have individuals who can take the game away from you, and Chelsea have more than most.’’

“What happens to Chelsea isn’t our priority – we only worry about ourselves,”

“Whilst we’ll work to beat Chelsea, we know they’re a good side despite the fact that they’re getting a lot of criticism. ”

“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.”

”They’ve not become a bad side overnight, they’re just searching for their top form and given their success it comes into focus a bit more readily”
Asked about Mourinho’s ban :

“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:

“[Chelsea] put in one of their better performances against us but we played well and came through it,”
”They followed it up with a win in the Champions League so maybe you’d argue their current form has gone their way, but results haven’t gone for them.

“Eventually they will go for you but we’ll have something to say about that tomorrow. We have the benefit of the emotions from that night and we had to work really hard for the result.

“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.”

Then he has updated injury information on his players :
“We are in good shape, I think everybody is fit and well. There is probably only Shay and Marc that aren’t available through injury tomorrow,”

”Shay has had the operation, he had a loose fragment of bone floating around in his knee that had to be taken out so it will be a couple of months before he is ready to come into the reckoning again; hopefully it’ll go well and he’ll be fine.”
”Marc will be out for a couple of weeks. We thought his hamstring serious was quite serious but we’re assured it won’t be as bad as we thought. It will be 2-3 weeks which isn’t great, but its better than what we previously feared.”
”Ryan has played two games and not only does he look capable, his form is very good considering how long he’d been out and given his leadership qualities, even when he’s been injured. ”

“The health of the squad is good at the minute with only Shay and Marc injured. The players take care of themselves and the medical staff have been top notch.”