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OFFICIAL club website of stoke city

Hughes Reveals Selection Dilemma

Mark Hughes

MARK HUGHES admits he took the decision to make wholesale changes to his starting XI at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon with half an eye on the crucial New Year’s Day fixture with Newcastle United.

The Welshman opted to make six changes to his line-up in West London, handing a first Premier League start to teenager Josh Tymon as well as giving much needed game time to the likes of Saido Berahino, Charlie Adam and Ibrahim Afellay.

Speaking following the Potters’ 5-0 defeat in the capital, Hughes said that whilst he was concerned about the prospect of taking such drastic action, he felt that the fixture provided him with the perfect opportunity to do so.

“I made a number of decisions regarding the team today with Monday, and the Club’s best interests, in mind,” he stated.

“I have a few of the guys who have knocks and niggles and it was important for me to make sure that they are right up to speed for the game against Newcastle, which is a huge one for us."

“I also needed to acknowledge some guys who have been banging on my door recently, asking for game time, so I took that into consideration.

“Of course, with regards to some of the players it was difficult to leave them out, but hopefully they will be firing on Monday, and help us to pick up the points we are desperate for.”

He added: “Of course, losing here isn’t nice, but if we do win on Monday, which I believe we will, then seven points from four games over Christmas would be a great return.”