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Chelsea speculation to be expected - Hughes

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes insists speculation linking him to the Chelsea job is to be expected due to his side's impressive season.

The Potters were knocked out of the League Cup semi-finals on penalties by Liverpool on Tuesday as part of a campaign that sees them sit ninth in the Premier League, just four points behind Manchester United in fifth.

Hughes is reportedly on a 'B-list' of Chelsea managerial targets to take the job at the end of the season along with Claudio Ranieri and Eddie Howe, which the Blues will turn to if they miss out on top targets Massimiliano Allegri, Pep Guardiola and Diego Simeone.

The Stoke boss was unfazed by the suggestion, though, and feels it is a consequence of the performances his players have put in this season.

"There is always speculation like that," he said at his pre-match media conference ahead of the FA Cup fourth-round tie at Crystal Palace.

"When you have a decent spell your name gets mentioned and this week it is me, but it is what it is. 

"There is so much speculation going around and people being linked with different jobs in the country."

Hughes revealed Stoke were still looking for potential signings but are reluctant to push through a deal quickly in the final days of the January window.

He added: "We would like to add if the right person is available and we can bring him to the club. There is a danger sometimes that you start scrambling around trying to do business if your 'A' targets fall by the wayside. 

"There will be no hurried decisions and no last-minute deals where we have not done work on before and considered."

The defeat to Liverpool was a big blow to Stoke, but Hughes is taking some positives from the way his team performed at Anfield in the second leg.

"I thought we did really well and obviously everyone is disappointed not to go through," continued the Welshman.

"Tactically our work was spot on, we played better football and created better chances. Unfortunately we lost the first tie, won the second tie but lost on penalties.

"It was the first time we won at Anfield though in 50-odd years so that is something to take from the game."