Mark Hughes: I thought Stoke were going out against Wrexham
Stoke boss Mark Hughes expressed his relief at his side making it through to the FA Cup fourth round having been sure they were headed for an embarrassing defeat to Conference outfit Wrexham at the Britannia Stadium.
The Potters -- their crossbar already rattled by Wes York's shot around the hour mark -- fell 1-0 behind in the 73rd minute of the third-round tie through Mark Carrington's header.
With the lead nothing more than the visitors deserved, a major upset appeared very much on.
But the Premier League hosts managed to avoid falling victim to a giantkilling with a dramatic late turnaround as Marko Arnautovic equalised in the 80th minute, following up a parried effort from substitute Peter Crouch, before another substitute Stephen Ireland struck in the 88th and stoppage time to seal a 3-1 win.
When asked afterwards if he had feared the worst at 1-0, Hughes -- who used to watch Wrexham as a boy -- said: "At that point, I thought we were going out to be perfectly honest.
"Wrexham were good value and we hadn't produced anything of real note. It didn't really look like we were going to either.
"But thankfully we had made a couple of changes and that helped us. I didn't really want to involve Peter Crouch or Jonathan Walters today, but we needed their understanding of what was required.
"We were able to get back level quickly, which was important, and then Stephen Ireland comes on and produces that craft I talk about time and time again.
"The score isn't a fair reflection of the game and is fairly hard on Wrexham, but in the end we are delighted we are through.
"The emotion is probably relief and we didn't play anything like we expected to.
"Credit to Wrexham -- they had a good shape about them and a game plan. In terms of what they were trying to do today compared to what we were, I think they'd probably be more pleased.
"But at the end it is about progressing and thankfully we were able to do that.''
Asked what he had said to his players at full time, Hughes replied: "I just said we weren't very good -- or words to that effect.''