Hughes: ‘We Owe The Fans A Performance’

Mark Hughes

MARK HUGHES says his Stoke City players ‘owe it to the fans’ to produce a performance against Burnley at Turf Moor tomorrow after their Wembley woe at the weekend.

The Potters are still smarting from their 5-1 defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday as they prepare to return to Premier League action against the Clarets in Lancashire.

Hughes and his squad were left in no doubt as to the depth of feeling among supporters following the Spurs setback when they were confronted by angry fans when leaving their train at Stoke railway station.

The manager insists he can understand the frustrations of the fans and believes his players must use that as a motivation at Turf Moor.

“I think that what happened might be a good thing,” he told the media at his pre-match press conference earlier this afternoon. “We’re accused, as managers, coaches and players, of being in our own little bubble and sometimes you have to be exposed to the genuine feelings of the fans.

“It was a little bit emotional clearly and we were hurting as a group as much as our fans were and we probably irritated them because, for whatever reason, the doors of the train were locked and they couldn’t get out and we were allowed to get off first.

“I don’t know who made that decision - it didn’t help the situation, but we understand totally the level of frustration.

“Our performance was unacceptable on the day and we’re all of the opinion that we owe it to the fans to do something about it and we’ve got that opportunity on Tuesday … and that’s our intention.”

Burnley have been one of the surprise packages of the Premier League season so far and moved up to seventh in the table at the weekend after beating Watford 1-0 at home.

Hughes acknowledges that Sean Dyche’s side are a talented group but is more concerned with how his players react to their drubbing at the hands of Spurs.

He added: “It’s good thing that we’re playing against Burnley so quickly after the Spurs game. That’s what the guys are saying – they want to go out there and do something about it.

“We always review games – win, lose or draw – and we took the opportunity to highlight a number of things that we need to do better. We’ll certainly have to be more resolute in our defensive work against a Burnley side that are very good at what they do.

“That was the gist of the conversations today but tomorrow our thoughts will focus on Burnley and the job in hand.”