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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Mark Hughes: Bojan Krkic’s ‘spark’ the difference for Stoke City

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Mark Hughes believes Bojan Krkic’s “creative spark” has boosted Stoke City’s efforts away from home this season after the Spaniard sealed a 1-0 win at Leicester City.

The former Barcelona man scored the only goal of Saturday’s Premier League game at the King Power Stadium, swivelling to control and score in one motion and secure Stoke’s fourth away win of the campaign.

That is already one more than Stoke managed in the whole of last season, and Hughes believes Bojan’s quality is a big part of the reason for that improvement.

“He’s got that creative spark that we possibly lacked last year, certainly on our travels, we were struggling to get positive results on the road last year,” Hughes told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“But we have certainly got a lot more creativity in terms of what we can do on the counter-attack and when we get Bojan in good areas then you expect, with the talent that he has, that he will take chances, and that is exactly what he has done against today.

“[It was a] great moment for him right in front of our fans and he was able to celebrate with them in the corner so a good day all round.

“I was really pleased with what we produced today, as a professional, away performance it takes some beating.”

Stoke survived a shaky start to the match, lining up without Ryan Shawcross for the first time in the league this season.

The Stoke captain failed a late fitness test, meaning Hughes had to re-shuffle his back four as Erik Pieters missed out too.

But the visitors’ rear-guard stood firm, to ensure Leicester remain at the bottom of the table.

“Yesterday in training he just pulled up and he has got a little issue with his groin,” Hughes said of Shawcross.

“He had a lot of work last night and we were hopeful that it might settle down and he might have been able to play, but it wasn’t to be

“[Philipp] Wollscheid came in and I thought he was excellent on the day. The back four were really rock solid, along with Asmir [Begovic] behind them and restricted Leicester to very few opportunities and as an away side, that is exactly you want to do.”

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