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OFFICIAL club website of stoke city

Fulham Hurt Will Spur Us On

MARK HUGHES believes his players will use the disappointment that they felt at Craven Cottage two weeks ago to their advantage when they host West Bromwich Albion at the Britannia Stadium tomorrow afternoon.

The Potters were left to rue several missed opportunities and a number of dubious refereeing decisions in their last league outing in London, as Fulham recorded an undeserved 1-0 victory courtesy of a slightly fortuitous late Darren Bent strike.

Hughes says the players are still licking their wounds following the defeat, but is confident that they will be back up and running, and determined to get things back on track against the in-form Baggies by the time kick-off comes around on Saturday.

"In football, sometimes you don't get what you deserve, so it was a difficult defeat for us all to take for many different reasons," the City boss told Stoke City Player in the build-up to the game.

"Truth be told there wasn't a great deal wrong with the performance against Fulham, we were just probably hamstrung by a couple of disappointing decisions from the officials, whilst we were guilty of not taking the chances that came our way.

"It was disappointing and at the time there were a lot of disappointed players in the dressing room, but we have had a couple of weeks now, and we have managed to do some good work with the lads who have remained with us during the international break.

"Obviously, we have the full contingent back now and we will work on one or two things ahead of the West Brom game. It is important for us to take the positives from the Fulham game into Saturday's game."

He added: "There was a lot of frustration around the place after the last game, but hopefully we can take that into Saturday's match with us and use that to our advantage."

Despite acknowledging that his side are more than capable of returning to winning ways against Steve Clarke's side, Hughes was quick to highlight their recent return of eight points from four league games as proof of the Baggies Premier League credentials.

"They are flying at the moment, and look to be a very accomplished top-flight team with a wealth of options amongst their ranks," he said.

"They had a slow start, but have certainly picked up in recent weeks, with the victory at Old Trafford undoubtedly the stand-out result of their season so far.

"They managed to bring in some very good players prior to the closure of the transfer window, and Steve has great strength in depth at his disposal, so we know that it will be a very difficult game for us.

"But, if we can play to the levels that we have done in the majority of the games this season, and be a little more ruthless when chances come along then we are more than capable of causing them a lot of problems and getting the result that we are all desperate for."

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