Date: 3rd January 2017 at 7:42am
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Manager Mark Hughes has reflected on the setback at Stamford Bridge that saw a lively Stoke fall to a four two defeat on New Year’s Eve and with Watford next up tonight he’s looking for better to start 2017 in winning ways.

Suffering the four two defeat with our goals coming from Bruno Martins Indi and Peter Crouch, the hosts were just too good for us on the day and speaking to the Official Website in his post game press conference, Hughes explained that he felt it was a valiant effort but ‘catastrophic errors’ have to be cut out in the future.

‘Today, I thought we did really well to be honest. We showed great courage in getting back on level terms twice; I felt at 2-2 that we were good value to get a draw out of the game. But we can`t afford to keep on making mistakes as we are as the moment. We are guilty of making catastrophic errors and it`s hurting us. If you look back on the last two games the goals we have conceded have been really poor moments from our point of view. We just need to do the right things in the right areas of the field – and make the right decisions – and if you don`t do that good teams will punish you and Liverpool and Chelsea are very good teams.’

He went on to say that he could more than see similarities with the Liverpool game in terms of how things played out for us across the 90 minutes.

‘It was a similar outcome to Liverpool in midweek really; we came here with a positive attitude and affected the game really well. We caused them problems once again and were very much in the game. Teams have struggled to score goals at Stamford Bridge and although we found ourselves behind on a couple of occasions we showed real belief and courage to get back into the game. Some teams come here, go 1-0 down and can`t see a way back into the game but that wasn`t the case for us. Overall we played well but we can`t go on defending the way we have done in recent weeks. As soon as we eradicate that from our game we`ll be okay.’

With the January transfer window opening following the game he also commented that he was hopeful of tying up a permanent deal for Derby County stopper Lee Grant in the next few days.

‘That`s something we`re close to concluding which is important because of the situation with Jack Butland. I`m hoping we`ll have some positive news on that front in the next couple of days.’

With Watford next up, the gaffer also confirmed that we were hopeful of getting permission from the Ivory Coast and Egypt to include Wilfried Bony and Ramadan for tonight’s fixture – but I can’t yet find confirmation on whether we’ve got that or will be missing them. It’ll no doubt be announced during the day unless I’ve missed it – but he didn’t sound that confident as he spoke.

‘Clearly we`ve got a game on Tuesday and we`re trying to negotiate for all of the players to at least be available for that game. We might have a little bit leeway from Senegal (Diouf) but at the moment Egypt and the Ivory Coast aren`t seeing it our way unfortunately. But we`ll continue to ask the question. I don`t think we`ve conceded on that yet but we`re likely to have Mame Diouf; the other two probably not.’

Speaking more about our opposition tonight, Hughes called for a significant defensive improvement against Walter Mazzarri’s side in the 8pm kick off.

‘Clearly we have to be a lot sounder defensively in key moments of the game. A lot of the elements of our game are very good but we need to address that side of things because it`s costing us dearly at present. We had a good result against Watford not too long ago and need to revisit that. If we play as well as we can we`ll be okay but we need to cut out the catastrophic errors as I keep calling them.’

Marko Arnautovic comes back into his thoughts for the match following his three game suspension picked up against Southampton, but there is also a doubt about Jon Walters with him missing Chelsea with a knee injury.

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