Date: 9th January 2017 at 11:24am
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Manager Mark Hughes has spoken of his desire and demand for Stoke City to finish the 2016/17 season strongly following FA Cup disappointment at the weekend.

Hosting Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Bet365 Stadium for this season’s third round FA Cup tie, the visitors took a two nil victory on the day to book their place in the fourth round and dump us out of the cup and it’s fair to say Hughes was incredibly less than pleased at the full time whistle as he’d spoken about not wanting to be a cup upset ahead of the game.

Speaking to the Official Website in his Monday round of interviews with the media, Hughes said the season wasn’t over despite this disappointment and now he wanted a reaction from the side across the remaining 18 Premier League fixtures to ensure we finish in the top ten and strongly.

‘It`s not over at all; we`re looking to get as high as we can. I think this season the top six will be way ahead of everyone else but by virtue of that I think seventh is doable this year. Where are we now? In points terms we`re a couple of wins away; we`ve just to make sure we keep in touch.’

He added that clearly for that to happen we have to perform better than we did against Wolves for a start.

‘It`s a tall order based on what we saw against Wolves and people will suggest we won`t be able to do that but that`s the challenge.’

Dutch midfielder Ibrahim Afellay was also speaking as the players returned to training today and for him it was all about sticking together to get a positive response in the next game because he felt there were positives to be taken from how we tested their goalkeeper as on another day it was victory for us.

‘I think the goalkeeper had the game of his life. He saved everything and I think in the second half we did everything that we could. We had a lot of ball possession, we created a lot of chances, and I think we were unlucky in that way. It`s a big disappointment, as I think everybody tried to do their best and give everything for the team. We have to stay together and now the focus is on Sunderland.’

With it being his first 90 minutes since April after his serious knee injury there was the obvious positive of him finishing the game and he was looking to kick on now.

‘I feel very good and I think you can see it on the pitch as well. I hope I can continue like this. I`m happy that I`m back playing, and that I`m back on track.’

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