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OFFICIAL club website of stoke city

Hughes Remains Upbeat

MARK HUGHES is remaining upbeat about his side's chances of securing their best ever Premier League finish this season, despite spurning the opportunity to move into the top half of the table on Wednesday night.

Victory for the Potters against Swansea would have catapulted them into their highest league position this calendar year and established a healthy looking five-point cushion over their rivals currently occupying the bottom three spots.

However, Peter Crouch's eighth goal of the campaign was chalked out by a second half leveller from Swans defender Chico Flores - earning the visitors a share of the spoils.

Speaking following the encounter Hughes said he would take confidence from the fact that his side were able to pick up a point from another testing fixture, despite the players being well below their best.

"We are in a similar position to nine or ten other teams to be perfectly honest, but a positive from our point of view is that we seem to be continuously picking up points whereas others aren't doing that at the moment," the 50-year-old said.

"We have taken a decent amount of points from three very difficult fixtures against good quality opposition in Manchester United, Southampton and Swansea, so we can take real heart from that.

"We know that we are a lot better than we showed against Swansea, but we managed to dig in and earn what in my opinion was a deserved point from the game.

"As long as we keep working hard, keep trying to do the things that we know we are good at then we will have a good end to the season - I am very confident of that."

Hughes has taken advantage of a free weekend by flying his squad out to Dubai for a mid-season warm weather training camp, as attentions turn towards arguably the most testing fixture of the season so far away at title favourites Manchester City.

"It's a tricky one for any team going to the Etihad, you only need to look at the amount of points they have accumulated there this season and the incredible amount of goals they have scored in those matches too," he added.

"We know that we will have to be at our very best and possibly they will have to be off the boil a little bit if we are to go there and take a positive result from that particular fixture.

"We know that we are capable of causing them problems and making life difficult for them however, having performed well and taken a point from our home game earlier in the season.

"Arguably we should have taken all three points that day, so there is absolutely no reason why we can't go there and play to the same level."

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