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Premier League

Hughes wants improved home results

Mark Hughes knows his side have to improve their form at the Britannia Stadium if they are to stand a chance of achieving their first ever top ten finish in the Premier League.

Mark Hughes was baffled by Stoke's poor performance against Norwich.
Mark Hughes joined Stoke after being sacked by QPR last season.

Whittaker: Mixed emotions

Stoke have managed just three wins from 13 Premier League home games this calendar year and their only victory in the league this season came against bottom club Crystal Palace.

They are statistics which Stoke manager Hughes knows he has to significantly improve after a difficult start has led to chairman Peter Coates urging supporters to be patient with the new regime.

Stoke could plunge into the bottom three on Saturday if they fail to beat Southampton, which would hardly be the ideal way for Hughes to celebrate his 50th birthday, or for the club to mark their 200th Premier League fixture.

After a week in which they scored six times, but only scraped past Birmingham City on penalties in the Capital One Cup and threw away a winning position at Manchester United, Hughes feels he can reflect on a "reasonable" few days, but wants far more at the Britannia.

"We need to improve our home form in terms of results and what we produce in matches. We need to be up for the challenge. The weekend is the best place to start with that," he said. "We have played nine games and we have played a lot of the top sides in the league so far. We have only had four games at home.

"Form-wise there have been very few of those matches that I have not been happy with, but I can't keep saying that we are playing well and not getting results. We need to start getting some positive results.

"We need to get on the front foot and dictate to teams. That is our responsibility as the home team. Southampton have gone away from home and tried to dictate to the other side and we can't let them do that to us."

Southampton starts a run of fixtures which also see Stoke face Swansea and Sunderland, which could be viewed as an opportunity to improve the win column and further underline the club's status as a Premier League club.

"I speak to people who have been at the club a lot longer than I have and they can remember portacabins and muddy pitches at the training ground," Hughes added. "When you look at the facilities now and the fact we are an established Premier League club it is something to be proud of.

"It would be nice to celebrate with three points. That is the best way to celebrate. Every weekend in the Premier League as a manager it rests on the result on a Saturday. If you have won you have a far nicer weekend."


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