October 23, 2017 / 7:12 AM / a year ago

Soccer: Blame players not Hughes for Stoke slump, says Shawcross

Soccer Football - Premier League - Stoke City vs AFC Bournemouth - bet365 Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Britain - October 21, 2017 Stoke City's Ryan Shawcross reacts Action Images via Reuters/Craig Brough

(Reuters) - Stoke City captain Ryan Shawcross said the players not manager Mark Hughes should take the blame for the club’s recent slump and is confident they will get back on track when they travel to Watford next weekend.

Stoke have lost four of their last five Premier League games, shipping 16 goals in the process, and are above the relegation zone only on goal difference after their 2-1 loss at home to Bournemouth on Saturday.

“The manager is absolutely brilliant,” Shawcross told the club’s website. (www.stokecityfc.com)

“We had a great game plan but unfortunately we couldn’t produce the goods. It was the players’ fault.

“Obviously the players are down, but the manager is always confident and always gives you that boost. And like he always says, we’ll be fine.

“If we can get a win next week then everything is a lot brighter, but it is 38 games this league, it’s not nine, it’s not 10, it’s where you finish at the end of the season, and that’s all our target is.”

Former Manchester United and Chelsea striker Hughes has managed Stoke since 2013 and led the team to a 13th-placed league finish last season.

Stoke travel to Watford, who are sixth in the table after losing just two of their opening nine games, looking for a fourth consecutive win over the Hornets in as many league meetings.

Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru

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