Pitch change an obligation, says Hughes

Mark Hughes says changes to the size of the playing surface at Stoke City are being made to fall in line with Premier League regulations.

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has rubbished reports he is planning to increase the dimensions of the Britannia Stadium playing surface to encourage a more attacking style of play, insisting the club is "obliged" to make the change.

It was reported in the British press on Thursday that the pitch size would be increased to better suit Stoke's passing style under Hughes, whose side play on one of the smallest surfaces in the top flight.

However, the Welshman says the alterations are being made to fall in line with the Premier League, which wants to standardise pitch sizes at 105m x 68m.

"It is basically something we are obliged to," he explained. "There was a three-year dispensation period where we were allowed to have the size pitch that we have currently, and we are now at the end of the three years.

"We will make the pitch bigger. It doesn't affect how we play, we can win or lose on big pitches.

"We want to play the ball on the ground, make spaces and this could help us with that."

Stoke visit West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday looking to end a three-game losing streak.