MARK HUGHES believes Saturday night's impressive 1-0 victory over FC Dallas provides proof that his players are adapting to the new methods that he and his backroom team are implementing this summer.
The Potters were indebted to Jonathan Walters for the victory after he finished off a superb move midway through the first half to secure a first victory in the United States, ahead of the final game of the tour in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Hughes revealed to Stoke City Player that he saw enough in the game to convince him that the players are fully on course to be ready for the big kick off which comes in under three weeks time at Anfield.
"On a number of occasions we got good passing movements and good patterns going, and the goal was a good finish too," the Welshman said.
"It's encouraging that we are trying to get the ball down and pass and move, and create space in the opposition penalty box.
"We are still getting used to the patterns of play, but I think we have got good players and that is evident in the two games we have played.
"They are capable of getting the ball down, moving it and creating chances. Tonight was another step forward for us - I feel we are where we would want to be at this stage of pre-season."
Meanwhile the City boss confirmed that Andy Wilkinson is likely to miss the start of the 2013/14 campaign following his dismissal in the dying stages of Saturday night's game.
"I think Andy held his hands up because he's just caught him," Hughes added, "but the lad made a bit of a meal of it.
"It's disappointing because we were seeing the game out. We'll have to see what happens with Andy now, It depends on if the referee puts in a report.
"I think he will do because the game was well publicised, so there will be an obligation for him to do so."