THE sight of Stoke’s squad being confronted by angry fans at a train station after Saturday’s 5-1 loss to Tottenham “could possibly be a good thing,” boss Mark Hughes said yesterday.
Potters supporters vented their fury at players on the platform having shared a train back from London, where Spurs inflicted their latest thrashing on Stoke to leave them three points above the bottom three.
Stoke have won just three of the last 15 games and Hughes’s team was made aware of the growing frustration among fans when they were greeted with chants of “You’re not fit to wear the shirt” upon their return to the city.
Hughes said he hoped his players will use their public shaming as a motivational tool ahead of pivotal pre-Christmas fixtures with Burnley, West Ham and West Brom.
“Sometimes we’re accused … of being in our own little bubble and sometimes you have to be exposed to the genuine feeling of the fans,” Hughes said.
“On the day it was a little bit emotional, clearly. We were hurting as much as the fans were.
“We’re all of the view we owe it to the fans to do something about it and we’ve got that opportunity [tonight] and that’s our intention.”
Such supporter discontent will not have gone unnoticed by Potters chairman Peter Coates, who told the Stoke Sentinel that the club have “two big games coming up” and would not be drawn specifically on Hughes’s future.
However, Hughes knows victories at Turf Moor tonight and against West Ham at home four days later could ensure Stoke are in the table’s top half and he is free from scrutiny once more.
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