Barclays Asia Trophy: Stoke manager Hughes praise Singapore Select team

Mark Hughes speaks to journalists at a press conference ahead of the Barclays Asia Trophy soccer tournament in Singapore on July 14, 2015.
Mark Hughes speaks to journalists at a press conference ahead of the Barclays Asia Trophy soccer tournament in Singapore on July 14, 2015.PHOTO: EPA

SINGAPORE - Stoke City manager Mark Hughes is taking nothing for granted in the Barclays Asia Trophy third place match against the Singapore Select side on Saturday.

Although V. Sundramoorthy's men lost 4-0 to Arsenal in the opening match on Wednesday, the team earned praise from Arsene Wenger for their spirited play.

Similarly, Potters boss Hughes is impressed, saying: "I watched the opening period (of Singapore Select vs Arsenal). They were very bright with their movement, their thinking. Their technique is very good. They have a good understanding and play at a high tempo.

"It was quite a challenge for Arsenal."

But with most of his players fasting during the Ramadan period, the Gunners took full advantage after the break to net late goals to seal victory.

Hughes noted: "In the second-half, Singapore put on a number of players. That took the sting out of them. But they showed that they want their place amongst us."

Although much has been said about the heat and humidity affecting the English Premier League clubs in Singapore, Stoke striker Peter Crouch does not believe the weather will affect his team-mates.

He said: "We have been in Singapore for a week now. The heat and humidity have been tough but we are used to that now. The conditions here won't play a part."

meng@sph.com.sg