MARK HUGHES admitted that defeat for his Stoke City side at Fulham was difficult to swallow.
The Potters dominated for long spells at Craven Cottage but were punished after failing to make the most of the goal-scoring opportunities that came their way.
Darren Bent grabbed the only goal of the game eight minutes from time to earn Fulham their first home win in the league for six months.
Stoke had dominated for much of the game but failed to turn that dominance into a goal. Robert Huth had two headers cleared off the line and also headed over from six yards, while Stephen Ireland went close with a volley.
Stoke also had two appeals for first half penalties waved away by referee Roger East and Hughes simply could not hide his disappointment after the final whistle.
“I think in terms of the team more likely to win the game it was us,” he said. “I thought we had control of the game and tried to create opportunities for ourselves, which I think we did.
“We can’t really believe we’ve lost the game to be totally honest. I’m disappointed that two key decisions didn’t go for us as they were both stone-wall penalties in my view.
“Scoring the first goal in a Premier League game is huge, especially for the away game, and those key decisions affected the outcome of the game.
“I thought we played well and restricted Fulham to just one shot on target, which they scored the winner from.
“I thought we were really positive and were really trying to go for a win. If anything we were probably guilty of being too positive but we felt the game was there for us and we were in control.
“But we played a misplaced pass in a poor area and then after a couple of ricochets the ball fell to Darren Bent and that’s one guy you don’t want it to fall to in that position.”
Hughes also felt that Pajtim Kasami should have been red-carded in the first half after he appeared to strike Erik Pieters on the side of the face.
He added: “In my opinion it warranted a red card; it doesn’t matter how much contact he made but you cannot raise your hand.”
Stoke must now wait a fortnight to return to Premier League action when they host West Brom at the Britannia Stadium after the international break.