Hughes positive despite Coutinho 'brilliance'


Stoke City manager Mark Hughes refused to get downbeat after his side succumbed to a late Philippe Coutinho stunner in Sunday's 1-0 defeat to Liverpool.

The home side seemed to have done enough to shut out Brendan Rodgers' men, 77 days after Stoke dished out a 6-1 hammering to the same side on the final game of last season. 

Hughes handed debuts to Glen Johnson, Ibrahim Afellay and Marco van Ginkel and felt his side offered cause for optimism.

However, Hughes also lamented the lack of a penalty award when Nathaniel Clyne appeared to handle an Afellay strike in the first half.

"In the final third we didn't create much but I thought we were very much in the game," explained the Welshman. "I felt we should have had a penalty when Afellay had a shot and Clyne basically saved it with both his arms - he could have got out of the way but made a definite movement to stop it going goal bound. I'm a bit aggrieved at that decision, among others. There's a lot of positives really for a first outing and with 10 or 15 minutes to go I think both sides were happy to see the game peter out.

"The lad [Coutinho] has produced a moment of brilliance and that's sometimes the case when teams have invested heavily. When games aren't going to plan, individuals at top clubs can win games for their teams and that's what's happened - a great strike. In the Premier League sometimes against the top teams you have to hold your hands up and accept that a moment of brilliance has taken the game away from you."