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Stoke were ‘fantastic’ despite defeat, says Hughes

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By Stephen Donovan

Thursday 30 January 2014

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes praised the performance of his side despite them going down to defeat against Premier League relegation rivals Sunderland, Sky Sports has reported.

Mark Hughes

Adam Johnson capitalised on goalkeeper Asmir Begovic’s failure to hold Fabio Borini’s shot to net the winner for a Sunderland side that moves out of the drop zone for the first time since August, leaving Stoke just three points clear of danger after a third straight league defeat.

However, Stoke’s performance in the second half was encouraging, as they created the better chances in the latter stages despite being down to ten men because of Steven N’Zonzi’s dismissal for two yellow cards.

And Hughes, frustrated at the somewhat soft manner of the sending off, believed his side deserved at least a point from the encounter at the Stadium of Light. He said: "It was a fantastic performance tonight from the lads under really difficult circumstances. Apart from a period of maybe 10 or 12 minutes at the beginning of the first half where they scored we totally dominated the game.

"In the second half with 10 men we really drove the game. We were hampered with the referee's decision which was a poor one in my opinion but it's difficult because the lad has gone down under a very light challenge and tried to gain an advantage and the referee has bought it. We've suffered the consequences of having a man sent off.

"It was a difficult night for us but credit to the guys because I thought they were magnificent in terms of their desire to try and get back into the game. We looked quicker than Sunderland and tried to turn the difficult situation into our favour and although we lost the game my team take great credit."

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