Stoke: Mark Hughes says the side were failing under Tony Pulis

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Pulis' Stoke were failing - Hughes

Stoke boss Mark Hughes says the team were starting to fail under predecessor Tony Pulis, who he faces on Saturday.

West Brom manager Pulis, who was replaced by Hughes in May, 2013, reportedly said signings he made are still the "backbone" of Stoke's team.

Hughes, 51, said: "I have acknowledged the work that Tony did here. I got the job because there was a feeling that the team was starting to fail.

"The way we have progressed since has been quite exceptional."

Hughes added: "The players deserve credit for the way they have embraced the new style.

"We have a more possession-based game now and we control games. As a consequence of that we are a more accomplished team in my opinion.

Tony Pulis
Tony Pulis has been named as the Premier League's manager of the month for February

"We have a good balance to the team. We have a lot of qualities throughout the side and that is key to becoming a top-10 team."

Hughes was appointed by Stoke after Pulis' seven-year stay in charge of the Potters was ended by mutual consent.

Hughes had been out of work for six months after being sacked by QPR, having previously had spells in charge of Fulham, Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers.

The Welshman has guided Stoke to eighth in the Premier League as they look to better their previous highest finish of ninth, which they achieved last season.

Hughes said: "I came here with a little bit of a cloud over me and I needed to make it work. Thankfully, everything has gone incredibly well."

Hughes on life after Stoke for Pulis

Tony Pulis has lifted West Brom eight points clear of the relegation zone and overseen just three defeats - including two by Aston Villa in the Premier League and the FA Cup - since his appointment at the start of January.

Hughes said: "I think it has worked out well for Tony. He went to Crystal Palace and got a good group of players going. He was outstanding there.

"He has done the same again at West Brom. They arguably weren't in quite as dire a situation, but again he has got them going.

"WBA have good threats and good talent and they have stopped leaking goals as a consequence of the work Tony does with them now.

"WBA will want to address their previous two defeats, because they were big losses for them against their biggest rivals."

Hughes on Stoke's winning run

Stoke have won their last three Premier League games.

Hughes said: "Since Boxing Day only two teams have picked up more points than us, so we are in a very good frame of mind.

"We want to win four, five, six games on the bounce. Usually only the top four or five teams do that, but we have those aspirations."

Hughes on a comeback for Ryan Shawcross

The Stoke captain has been out since the end of January with a back injury.

Hughes said: "We have looked at Ryan. He has trained for the most part and hasn't had any [side] effects. He is in my thoughts for the game."

Hughes on signing a new contract

Hughes added: "I don't anticipate there being too many problems with the contract talks. I think it will be done quickly."

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