Soccer: Stoke boss Hughes calls for consistency against Watford
(Reuters) - Stoke City must perform consistently to secure their first away win of the current Premier League campaign against a tough Watford side, manager Mark Hughes said ahead of Saturday's game.
Stoke are currently 17th in the league, one spot above the relegation zone due to goal difference, after losing five of their last six games across all competitions and registering just two league wins in their opening nine fixtures.
Hughes knew that sixth-placed Watford, who beat top four contenders Arsenal in their last home league game, would provide a difficult challenge.
"We need a performance that is consistent. We are a good group. We've got guys in there who are disappointed in their performances and collectively we need to be better," Hughes told reporters on Friday.
"Watford have got good energy, good confidence in retaining the ball and a threat up front. They attack you centrally and from out wide... All round they've got good footballers who are working hard."
Three league managers have been sacked after poor starts so far but Hughes said he enjoyed the support of Stoke chairman Peter Coates.
"He will want improvement on the last two showings... we have underperformed but the chairman knows the quality of players and staff he has and in my time here he has allowed me to get on with my job," Hughes added.
He acknowledged the frustration of the supporters but was hopeful of an imminent turnaround, drawing on the club's experience in recovering from poor positions in previous campaigns.
"In terms of like-for-like results I don't think it's too poor in comparison to last year," Hughes said.
"We will take the positives from the situation. We've been here before... You affect things by winning matches. I would be more concerned if I didn't think we would have a good season. We were 13th last year and I fully believe we will be better."
(Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)