MARK HUGHES says he and the players are ready for the ‘real thing’ after bringing the curtain down on their pre-season campaign on Saturday evening.
The Potters rounded off their preparations for the forthcoming 2014/15 Barclays Premier League season by claiming a credible 1-1 draw against Bundesliga side SC Freiburg in western Germany.
Senegalese striker Mame Diouf grabbed the headlines after netting his maiden goal for the Potters shortly before the half-time interval – levelling matters for his side following Pavel Krmas’ second minute opener.
“There are obviously details for us to work on over the coming week, but I think I speak on behalf of everybody when I say that we are ready for the real thing now,” the Welshman told Stoke City Player.
“We’ve had enough friendlies now and put in the right groundwork for the season ahead, so we are ready to get back home and put in another big week of work to make sure we are ready for the weekend.
“Friendlies serve a purpose and this time of year is always important to us all, but as I said we are ready to get going with the real stuff now. We are really looking forward to it.”
Hughes says he was pleased with what he saw from his players in their final warm-up game, especially after falling behind so early on in the game.
“I thought it was a good test for us,” he added. “They were really lively in the first half and we had to remain professional and organised through that spell, which we were for the best part.
“Maybe we were a little too deep initially but we managed to sort that out as the half wore on and started to get a lot closer to them.
“Obviously conceding a goal from a set-play is disappointing, but to be fair that can happen in pre-season because we aren’t giving the guys too much information about those sort of things.
“It was pleasing that we were able to get back into the game however, and Mame was able to get his first goal too which was important for him.”