Football: Mark Hughes says Stoke City not all about brawn

Stoke City FC manager Mark Hughes at a press conference ahead of the Barclays Asia Trophy soccer tournament in Singapore, July 14, 2015.
Stoke City FC manager Mark Hughes at a press conference ahead of the Barclays Asia Trophy soccer tournament in Singapore, July 14, 2015.PHOTO: EPA

SINGAPORE - Stoke City manager Mark Hughes on Tuesday hit back at critics who still think his team play a physical game and destructive football.

Asked if the Potters will display their bruising approach at the Barclays Asia Trophy at the National Stadium, a label earned under his predecessor Tony Pulis, Hughes took a couple of seconds to compose himself before firing back.

He said: "We get this question quite often and it's an opening line for those who've not seen us.

"If you saw the last couple of years, you will see a very competitive team that has good technical players, (and) good abilities in different areas of the pitch.

"We are a progressive team, and we try to dictate the opposition."

Last season, Stoke finished ninth in the English Premier League, making it two top-10 finishes in a row, and Hughes said the team will look to build on that in the new season.

The former Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City manager said: "We would like to better (finishing in the top 10)... Ideally we like to push higher, and who knows we may push into Europe.

"That's our aim and intention for the future."

siangyee@sph.com.sg