Date: 20th March 2017 at 8:26am
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Manager Mark Hughes has said he feels Stoke City can be proud of their efforts in the defeat to Chelsea on Saturday.

Hosting Antonio Conte’s almost Premier League champions elect last weekend, a Jonathan Walters penalty had us tied at one all following their early advantage, but Gary Cahill popped up with only a couple of minutes left to play to give them the win.

Speaking to the Official Website in his post game press conference, Hughes was adamant that the two one defeat had been harsh on the side given the overall performance.

‘The overriding feeling right now is frustration and disappointment because we felt we did enough to take something from the game. We stood toe-to-toe with the Champions-elect this afternoon and we have run them really close, just as we did at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season, so from that point of view the guys can be proud.’

With some performances giving rise to questions about our ability to compete against the top six pack, Hughes went on to say he felt that the players had more than answered those questions on Saturday.

‘People had questioned our performances against top six teams this season but I felt we answered those today up to a point. The only aspect that affected us was not doing slightly better in those two key moments in the game, because had we have been able to do that then it would have been a far different outcome this afternoon.’

Talking more about the game, how we dealt with their threats and such like, Hughes had been pleased with our overall defensive efforts on the day, it was just again those two moments that had cost us.

‘They didn’t create too much from open play to be perfectly honest, not before their second goal anyway, and we did really well in getting our guys in and around theirs and blocking off avenues. The first goal was disappointing because we spoke about the importance of not conceding early on, but we bounced back from that tremendously well and looked the better team in my point of view. What happened at the end was a real sickener for us because we probably should have cleared the ball away from that position, and having not done so they have been able to win a game that they really shouldn`t have.’

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