Fulham v Stoke City: Pieters hopes Hughes' men can reverse poor form
Erik Pieters hopes a win against Fulham in the League Cup on Tuesday can kick-start a winning run for Stoke City, who he admits have found it tough to deal with their poor start to the season.
Stoke threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Leicester City at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday, as their search for a first Premier League win of the new campaign goes on.
Their only victory this term came in the second round of the League Cup – an 8-7 penalty-shootout triumph over Luton Town – and Pieters is aiming to make amends for the sluggish start.
"It's tough at the moment, it's not happy because we aren't winning." the Dutchman told the club's official site.
"We can't think too much about results because we have another game that we need to concentrate on this Tuesday, and maybe we can start to win again from then.
"We had a good first half [against Leicester] and had nothing to worry about. We need to remain powerful and keep our belief in continuing doing what we were.
"I want to win games. I am a defender and it doesn't matter if we are conceding goals on my side or the opposite side, I feel a responsibility for this team.
"We have to do this together, it's not the decisions of the referee or individual mistakes – you win or lose together as a team.
"After a draw like the one against Leicester you are always disappointed, but we just have to focus on the next game, which will not be easy."
Hughes is likely to be without Mame Biram Diouf for the trip to Craven Cottage, with the forward having missed the Leicester clash due to a hamstring injury, while Charlie Adam is suspended and long-term absentee Ryan Shawcross is still out.
Fulham dispatched Sheffield United 3-0 in the previous round, but have won just two of their opening seven Championship fixtures, losing to Sheffield Wednesday last time out.
But manager Kit Symons is confident his side, who have netted in every game this campaign, have the quality to pose a real threat to their Premier League opposition.
"We will always score goals. We've got no problem with that, when we push forward we create great opportunities," Symons told Fulham's official site.
"It's tightening up that little bit defensively, which we are more than capable of doing. We need to do that man-to-man job a lot better."