Zouma injury led to Turf Moor defeat – Hughes

12 December 2017 23:44

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes picked out the injury to defender Kurt Zouma as a key moment in his side's 1-0 defeat at Burnley.

Second-half substitute Ashley Barnes scored the winner in the 89th minute for the home side, who Hughes said did not deserve a victory that cranks the pressure up on him.

Stoke had matched Burnley for long periods and shown a marked improvement in their performance compared to their display in the previous Premier League match, which ended in a 5-1 defeat to Tottenham.

But Zouma's injury after 66 minutes broke up his successful defensive partnership with Ryan Shawcross and Hughes told BBC Sport: "Don't tell me that anyone says Burnley deserved to win that, because they didn't. The lads are devastated, they didn't deserve that.

"It's hard to take, Burnley didn't deserve to win, clearly. I'm pleased with what we produced tonight.

"We felt the loss of Kurt Zouma. If we'd have kept Ryan and Kurt they'd have dealt with that situation."

Stoke have won just one game in their last seven and Hughes will pick his players up to face West Ham at bet365 Stadium on Saturday.

The Potters boss took consolation from his players' performance against Burnley, saying: "We'll be OK, we're fine. We are working hard to try and turn this around but I am encouraged by what I've seen.

"Burnley play on percentages, they hope something will drop for them and they are making a habit of it.

"I thought the lads were fantastic and matched everything Burnley threw at us. I thought when we were able to get the ball down, we were the team trying to create openings in wide areas and get good balls in.

"We've got a big game at the weekend now, we need more of the same and maybe a bit of luck," he added.

"In the end they've got the break that their endeavour and determination deserves I suppose. At the moment the luck is going for them and they were fortunate."

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