MARK HUGHES hailed a ‘near perfect’ away day display after Stoke City sent West Ham tumbling to their first home defeat since February.
Substitute Jermaine Pennant bagged the only goal of the game at the Boleyn Ground with a superb free-kick six minutes from time.
It earned the Potters’ their third win in the space of eight days and left Hughes and his players in great heart ahead of the two-week international break.
“I was aware that West Ham had a really good home record and it’s a difficult place to come to but I have to say it was a great performance by us, near perfect in fact,” he explained.
“I thought we were in total control of the game and were in no danger of conceding. We always looked a threat with our progressive play and with a little bit more of a cutting edge we possibly might have won the game by more.
“You always worry that a goal might not come; there’s a fear that a ball into your box might go the wrong way and someone dispatches it.
“Thankfully, we defended brilliantly, dealt with everything they threw at us and always looked a threat on the break.”
Hughes reserved special praise for Pennant, who scored the winner just six minutes after joining the action as a substitute.
The winger looked set to leave the Britannia Stadium at the end of last season when his contract expired but Hughes handed him a new one-year deal soon after being appointed Potters boss.
“Things hadn’t worked out as well as Jermaine would have hoped over the last couple of seasons but I didn’t want him to come back to the Britannia Stadium with another Club,” he said.
“Jermaine is a smashing lad. He always comes into training with a smile on his face, works hard and is desperate to do well. He’s got great ability and because of that there’s always a chance that he will a game for you.”
Hughes also revealed he is hoping to make additions to his squad before the transfer window closes at 11pm on Monday.
“We’re still in the mix for a number of players and hope to do some business,” he said. “If we are able to bring some in I think it will help the group but anyone who does come in will be joining a squad that is really strong, really committed and knows what the Premier League is all about.”