MARK HUGHES admits that in hindsight he would have been better off opting for a more direct approach to Saturday evening’s final home fixture of the season against Arsenal.
The Potters succumbed to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Champions League chasing Londoners to end any hopes of securing a record fourth successive Premier League top 10 finish.
Goals from Olivier Giroud (two), Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez were enough to claim maximum spoils for the visitors, although the hosts did enjoy by far their most productive spell of the game shortly after the introduction of Peter Crouch.
Speaking following the game, Hughes said: “Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but to be perfectly honest maybe I should have gone for a more direct approach from the off.
“We obviously enjoyed our most productive period of the game after we changed things around a little bit, and for a time we had Arsenal rattled.
“Crouchy certainly shook things up for us and gave us a more potent threat, and yes, maybe I should have gone with him from the start and just gone for it a little bit more.
“At 2-1 we were very much in the game, the crowd were right behind us and that was a huge help for us.
“But, when we were in the ascendency they caught us cold, on the break and really knocked the stuffing out of us - it was a difficult one to take because we were well on top at that point.”
The Welshman says that there are lessons to be learned from this season, and fully expects his players to bounce back from what he admits has been a ‘frustrating’ campaign.
“There are one or two things we need to look at in the summer and there are one or two key decisions to make in terms of personnel,” he added.
“We have let ourselves down on occasions this season, especially in the matches against the top six or seven sides.
“We know we haven’t performed well enough in those games and that is something we have to address, which I am certain we will.”