REUTERS - Stoke City must end their scoring drought away from home if they are to revive their chances of finishing in the top half of the Premier League, manager Mark Hughes said on Friday.
Stoke have failed to find the net for 596 minutes during a six-game winless run on the road ahead of the game at Bournemouth on Saturday.
“We’re not overly concerned because chances have been created in every game in recent weeks,” Hughes told a news conference.
“We’re quite calm in terms of our general play but we need to take our chances when we are in the ascendancy. It’s up to us with the three games we have left to try to address that.”
Currently 12th in the league, Hughes’s side desperately need January signing Saido Berahino to find his scoring touch. The 23-year-old is yet to find the net in 12 appearances for the club.
“Saido just needs to keep performing in games like he is. We all feel he is getting close to breaking his duck,” Hughes added.
“His general play is better, his physical condition is better. We’ve still got games in this season but next year when he’s had a full pre-season he will benefit form the games he’s had this year.”
Bournemouth are nine points clear of the relegation zone with three games to play and need one point to guarantee their top-flight status.
“The most important objective is to stay in the Premier League - we have to do that first then finish as high as possible,” their manager Eddie Howe told reporters.
“I just want to focus on this game, if we do win we’ll be safe and look to an exciting end to the season.”
Hughes is yet to make a decision on striker Jonathan Walters who is returning from a knee injury while Berahino will also be assessed after being ill this week.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond