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Stoke’s 1-0 win over Arsenal came because the team and fans are “fed up of criticism”, says boss Mark Hughes.
Stoke face Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City in the opening 10 games – having already played Everton and now Arsenal – and Hughes believes some thought his side would struggle.
“Maybe the negativity came with people thinking we won’t get many points in the first few games,” he said.
“Maybe this result will change people’s thinking.”
Former Real Madrid winger Jese Rodriguez enjoyed a dream start to his Stoke career by scoring the only goal on Saturday, having only arrived from Paris St-Germain on Wednesday.
The Spaniard’s winner came less than two minutes into the second half, finishing from a tight angle after being set up by Saido Berahino, and the result means the Potters have lost just one their past eight home games against the Gunners.
Hughes added: “We’ll take valid criticism – but when we get things going, do things correctly, then we’ll always be a feature in this league.
“The crowd wanted to make a statement along with the team. They were fed up of criticism and they wanted it.”
Stoke have recruited forward Maxim Choupo-Moting and midfielder Darren Fletcher on free transfers, and defender Kurt Zouma and Jese on loan.
The only fee paid is the £7m for defender Bruno Martins Indi – but Welshman Hughes defended the club’s transfer business.
“Hopefully this year the squad is as strong as it has ever been,” he added. “There’s been criticism about investment, which is way out of order.
“If at the end of window you are stronger than at the start, then you’ve had a good window.”
‘Jese is a game-changer’
Hughes reserved praise for match-winner Jese, who was considered one of the best products of his generation in the Real Madrid academy by some observers.
“Everyone knew what an acquisition Jese is,” said the 53-year-old. “He’s a game-changer.
“You have to say he put a shift in too. When you think about it, he only had two or three training sessions. If that’s what’s to come then we’ll be delighted.
“He’s an elite player and can carry the fight for you.”
‘Lacazette was not offside’
Arsenal were the bigger attacking threat. They had 18 efforts, and found the net when summer signing Alexandre Lacazette fired home in the second half – only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.
Replays showed that part of France striker’s foot was marginally off.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger said: “I believe we scored a very regular goal that was given offside.
“It is not offside, it is a very easy decision.
“It was a very frustrating evening because we had plenty of chances to score, but we did not score.
“On top of that, we knew it was important not to make a defensive mistake – and then at the start of the second half we were sluggish and we paid a price.
“It’s a difficult defeat to swallow.”
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