Mark Hughes angry with Steve Bruce's Maynor Figueroa defence

Stephen Ireland & Maynor Figueroa
Stoke midfielder Stephen Ireland needed 12 to 15 stitches in his calf following a tackle by Maynor Figueroa

Stoke boss Mark Hughes has accused Hull counterpart Steve Bruce of trying to "defend the indefensible" over Maynor Figueroa's tackle on Stephen Ireland.

Ireland was substituted at half-time of Stoke's 1-0 win over Hull following a challenge by Figueroa.

Hughes said it could have ended Ireland's career, but Bruce claimed Ireland should have been sent off earlier for a tackle on David Meyler.

"I just thought Steve didn't need to do that," said Hughes.

"He needed to come out and say it like it was. Steve has fallen into the trap of trying to defend the indefensible.

Stoke 1-0 Hull: Mark Hughes furious at tackle on Stephen Ireland

"I don't think Steve did himself too much credit in terms of his observations of the events of the day."

The challenge left Potters midfielder Ireland, 28, with a huge gash in his calf that required, according to Hughes "12 to 15 stitches". He is likely to be sidelined for two or three weeks.

Hull defender Figueroa was not punished by referee Neil Swarbrick for the challenge and will not face any retrospective action.

Hughes added: "It is very easy to try to defend your players and most managers do it - I'm probably guilty of it as well sometimes.

"But on this occasion, it wasn't as if the lad was going to be suspended - which is another debate as well - so why didn't Steve just come out and say it was a terrible tackle and that it shouldn't have happened? To try to defend it I think was incorrect."

Hughes felt the tackle was worse than the one that attracted such controversy last week - by Burnley's Ashley Barnes on Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic.

Ireland, 28, was making only his 13th appearance of the season for Stoke.