Aston Villa 1 Stoke 4: Mark Hughes hopes emphatic victory has put pay to belief that Stoke remain long-ball specialists
Stoke came back from a goal behind to record an impressive away victory and Hughes believes that reputation of being a robust long-ball side has been consigned to the past
Monday 24 March 2014
Mark Hughes hopes the perception of Stoke being a long-ball team has finally been consigned to history.
Stoke moved up to 10th in the Barclays Premier League on Sunday when they thrashed Aston Villa 4-1 at Villa Park.
The Potters went behind to an early Christian Benteke goal, but Peter Odemwingie and Peter Crouch scored within four minutes of each other before Steven Nzonzi and Geoff Cameron wrapped up the win.
Hughes thought Stoke's third goal proved that his attempt at turning them from a route-one team into an attractive passing side is working.
The visitors strung a series of passes together before Marko Arnautovic released the ball to Nzonzi who slotted the ball past Brad Guzan.
"For the third goal, there was something like 18 or 19 passes before the ball was in the back of the net and we are not too renowned for passages of play like that," the Stoke manager said.
"I hope (the long-ball tag) is something in the past now because we deserve a bit more credit. We do try and get it down on the floor and keep possession.
"Maybe people will sit up and take notice of what we are trying to do. We have been under the radar a little bit in the last seven or eight games but today was a statement from us in terms of what we want to do this season.
"We are just happy that people are noticing there is a little bit of a change in style. At the moment it's working and it's for the better."
Villa boss Paul Lambert hit out at his players for a performance which in no way resembled the one they put on when they beat Chelsea last weekend.
"The whole performance was unlike us," the Scot said,
"We looked lethargic. We never got going and you try and get a goal back and it just never materialised."
Lambert was not helped when he had to bring Karim El Ahmadi and Andreas Weimann off in the first half through injury.
"Andy had a severe dead leg that he couldn't shake off," Lambert said.
"We will have to see how he is. Karim has a little thigh strain."
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