Peter Coates: Stoke City's poor start under Mark Hughes needs context, says chairman

Peter Coates appointed Mark Hughes as manager in May 2013
Peter Coates appointed Mark Hughes as Stoke City manager to succeed Tony Pulis in May 2013

Stoke City chairman Peter Coates says that the team's poor start to the season needs to be taken in context.

Mark Hughes' side have picked up just one point from their first five matches and are bottom of the Premier League.

They have let in four goals on three occasions - which they also did in three successive games in a poor late-season run in 2015-16.

"We have conceded too many goals and that has got to be addressed," Coates told BBC Radio Stoke.

"It was poor defending at Crystal Palace on Sunday. Two bad errors for the first two goals. The manager can't do anything about that.

"I understand how the fans feel. I'm a supporter too - but let's have a bit of context. It's September and we've only played five games. We've finished ninth in the Premier League three times in a row. What is there to say?"

Pulis next up in Premier League

It took Stoke until 26 September last season to win their first league game, as they started with three draws and three defeats in their first six fixtures.

And the fact that the next visiting manager to the Bet365 Stadium this weekend will be former Potters boss Tony Pulis, with West Bromwich Albion, only adds to the pressure to achieve a first victory.

Before that is Wednesday's EFL Cup third round tie at home to Hull City, when last year's beaten semi-finalists hope to take another step closer to Wembley.

"Football is all about the next game," said Coates. "We need a win and the sooner it comes the better. I'd like to win against Hull on Wednesday night."

But, most of all, what Coates would most like is a change of luck.

A lot of individual incidents have not gone Stoke's way, largely in the 1-0 defeat at Everton, whose winning goal came following a debatable penalty given for a soft challenge on Ashley Williams.

But there were also crucial match-turning moments in the 4-1 loss at Manchester City and even in the 4-0 home defeat by Spurs, when Hughes' temper snapped and he was sent to the stand - and consequently fined.

"The ref robbed us of a point at Everton," added Coates. "Not much has gone for us. But we're not hiding. We'd like to have done better and we will."

Peter Coates was talking to BBC Radio Stoke's Lee Blakeman.

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