MARK HUGHES will take a number of positives away from Stoke City's performance against Houston Dynamo on Wednesday evening . . . despite succumbing to a 2-0 defeat at the BBVA Compass Stadium.
Goals from Andrew Driver and former Derby County starlet Giles Barnes secured the Texans victory in the BBVA Dynamo Charities Cup encounter which was played out in front of almost 15,000 supporters.
"It was a very worthwhile evening for us in terms of boosting the fitness levels of the lads, because I don't think they will play in these conditions again for a while," he told Stoke City Player following the clash.
"It was incredibly tough out there for them, especially given the fact that they had a session this morning too - but that is what pre-season is all about.
"It would have been nice to have picked up a win but the fundamentals are building up the levels of fitness and working on the things that we have been doing in training on a daily basis.
"I think the lads did well in many areas tonight, despite the result. They started to play the ball out from the back and I think we controlled the play for long periods.
"They scored the early goal and they then defended that lead and caught us on the counter attack on a couple of occasions with the players up front who possessed good pace."
He added: "For them the win was arguably more important that it would have been for us. We wanted to work on one or two things and give players an opportunity to get important minutes under their belts."
The Welshman made full use of his playing squad in the encounter, using all but three of the travelling party during proceedings.
"It was important to get all of the lads out there and see what they are capable of," he said.
"We used a few of them in different positions to try and gauge an idea of where we feel they will be best utilised this season.
"Geoff is one who we played in a number of positions across the backline and I thought he did well. It was a big game for him,coming back here where he enjoyed a good period of his career, and that is why we gave him a little longer than the other lads."