MARK HUGHES admits that the Club's successful nine day tour of the United States of America has been overshadowed by the injury sustained by Brek Shea in Tuesday evening's 2-0 victory against Philadelphia Union.
The former FC Dallas winger, who scored for his country in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final at the weekend, had impressed in his first outing under Mark Hughes, helping to assist Michael Kightly's first and then turning from provider to scorer with a clinically taken second.
His participation in the clash was prematurely ended however when fellow American Matt Kassel rashly went through the back of the Texan - a challenge that the City boss feels was totally unnecessary.
"It's incredibly frustrating and hugely disappointing to lose Brek, especially in a game like this where you would expect players to look after their fellow professionals," the Welshman told Stoke City Player.
"I really have no idea what the lad was thinking about by going in for the challenge like that. Maybe he was trying to make a name for himself, I have no idea, but whatever he was thinking it was totally wrong.
"We have been waiting a while to get Brek back here, and up until the injury he looked very bright, very dangerous and appeared to have a real understanding of what his role was on the left hand side of midfield."
He added: "He will go for a scan tomorrow, but we know that we will definitely be without him for a number of weeks. It looks fairly serious, but fingers crossed it isn't anymore serious than we already know it is."
The result ensured a winning end to the tour of the States, and whilst Hughes was pleased with what he saw from his team, he acknowledges that there is still plenty more to work on before the opening game of the 2013/14 campaign.
"We are progressing and that is a positive thing for us," he said. "I thought in the first half tonight we looked very well organised, we kept the ball incredibly well and we managed to create a lot of opportunities.
"In the second half we became a little fragmented, and part of that was possibly because the game wasn't able to flow quite so much as it did in the first half because we wanted to make changes to give players playing time.
"It was another positive night for us though, Brek's injury aside, and we will look to move on from this over the coming weeks.
"There are still things that we haven't touched on, particularly from a defensive point of view, so we will work on that and one or two other things, and hopefully put them into practice in the forthcoming games against Wrexham and Genoa."