Hughes praises 'professional' Stoke

Mark Hughes hailed the professionalism of his Stoke City side after they overcame Newcastle United 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium.

An over-hit cross from Erik Pieters just before half-time was enough to hand the hosts their fourth consecutive home win on Saturday, leaving manager Hughes full of praise for his charges' efforts.

He said: "We had the vast majority of the clear-cut chances in the game. I thought defensively we were nice and sound today and didn't really come under any sustained pressure and any pressure we did come under we dealt with.

"So all in all it was a very professional Premier League performance."

The Welshman was particularly impressed by the contribution of Pieters and felt that his first goal in six years, while fortuitous, was ample reward for his recent performances and link-up play with winger Marko Arnautovic. 

He said: "In fairness to Erik I think he's held his hands up and admitted that there was a little bit of fortune, but I thought his link-up play with Marko was very positive for us and he's got himself in that position on the field.

"He's got in an area that he's been in many times this season to good effect, putting quality balls in that haven't been converted.

"Today he's put another ball in and it's gone in.

"He's done really well and it's always difficult for a player to come into a new league and he's played almost every game for me in all fairness and prior to that he'd not played a lot of football over the year. 

"So for him to come in and have a great first season in the Premier Leaguer does him great credit and I'm glad that he was able to get some of the headlines today."