Sunderland's survival experience could prove crucial in run-in, says Stoke boss Mark Hughes

Mark Hughes does not think Sunderland's position is a desperate one.

Monday, 16th January 2017, 8:00 am
Peter Crouch celebrates putting Stoke 3-0 up at Sunderland. Picture by Frank Reid

The Stoke City boss, whose side triumphed 3-1 at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, believes the Black Cats have a “good manager” in David Moyes.

Hughes also feels the fact Sunderland’s players have the experience of successful relegation battles could be key.

The Wearsiders slipped to second-bottom spot, though they are still only one point from 17th.

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“Looking from the outside in, Sunderland seem to have a struggle right through the Premier League season and get their act together at the end and see it through to a successful conclusion,” he said.

“You have a good manager here, very experienced at this level.

“Sunderland have that potential with players who have been through that process.

“If they are involved in that at the end maybe that experience can be the difference seeing it through to a positive end in comparison to other teams and players who have not been through it.”

Hughes’s side had the edge throughout on Stoke’s bogey ground, the Potters having never won in the league at the Stadium of Light.

They made a good start and two great Marko Arnautovic finishes put them 2-0 up before Peter Crouch, inevitably, added his third goal in the last three matches.

Hughes admitted Stoke could not kick on after Jermain Defoe’s clinical finish pulled it back to 3-1.

“We had a bit of anxiety in our play, second half, because the Defoe goal affected our play a bit,” he said.

“Apart from that, to come away from our own back yard to a place that has not been a happy hunting ground [14 games] it has been a good day.

“We scored top quality goals.

“That decorated the performance to an extent.

“I am very pleased with the performance, it was important we bounced back [from the FA Cup defeat to Wolves].”

Stoke missed the chance to score a record total of goals in an away trip to Sunderland. The only time they had previously scored more than twice on Wearside was a 3-0 victory at Roker Park in 1969-70.