Stoke salvaged a share of the spoils after Ryan Shawcross bundled in a late leveller, although that goal came from a throw-in that should have gone to Hull.
The home team had James Chester sent off with14 minutes gone, but recovered to hit the front through Nikica Jelavic's goal just before half-time.
"Relieved is one of the emotions, but also frustration, given the circumstances we found ourselves in," said Hughes. "We didn't take the best out of that situation against a team with 10 men.
"First of all, we shouldn't have conceded a goal, because that makes it doubly difficult to overcome a side battling hard. In the second half, we needed to use a bit of guile and intelligence to understand what was required and we didn't do that to a large extent.
"But we kept going, we changed it around and we got Peter Crouch on, which helped as he gave us a different option, so we got something out of the game, but all credit to Hull on the day, who found themselves up against it and did really well.
"I suppose to get a point in our first away game is something to take out of the match, but we're not quite up to speed yet."
Hughes also felt that the decision to dismiss Chester for a foul on Glenn Whelan was correct.
"At the time, I thought it was a clear goalscoring chance, because he would have had a straight run through on goal but was taken out of the game, so I can understand why it was a red card," added Hughes.
"Maybe that was to our detriment, though. At that point maybe we thought it was going to be easier and just a matter of time before we were able to score our goal, but that wasn't the case and you have to work hard and make sure you keep your shape."
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