Stoke City have been slowly transforming as a football club under the stewardship of Mark Hughes and the club got into the top half of the table after a 1-0 win over Newcastle United.
Following this victory, Hughes said that the club needs to transform this win into a top-10 finish for this campaign. Newcastle have been fast slipping down the table, while Stoke have enjoyed a good run of form in contrast. This has enabled Hughes’ men to close in within three points of Newcastle with only a couple of matches left in the season.
Since Newcastle have a tough run of matches between now and the end of the campaign, Hughes feels that this is a great opportunity for Stoke to finish in the top 10. This is not unusual for the club, which once qualified for the Europa league under Tony Pulis. However, to do it again under Hughes when everybody acknowledges that the club is going through a transitional period would be a phenomenal achievement. Hughes has also tried to modify the way of football employed at Stoke. Signing players like Stephen Ireland has made this possible.
Stoke were also delighted recently with the news that Ireland has decided to sign a new three-year contract after moving to the club on a loan deal from Aston Villa in the summer.
“I’ve made the point that we haven’t done anything yet. People were trying to pat us on the back for getting to 40 points, but that was never the aim this year. So we haven’t achieved anything and we haven’t got the job done yet. It’s about making sure we maintain what we’ve done in recent weeks and with four games to go let’s hope we can keep this momentum going. Newcastle [one place and three points ahead with four games each to play] are in our sights now,” said Hughes.