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Hughes: Stoke have work cut out for top-10 finish

Mark Hughes wants Stoke to finish in the top half again Credit: PA

Stoke boss Mark Hughes accepts his side have it all to do in their bid to secure another top-10 finish in the Premier League.

The Potters are currently ninth, a position they have finished in each of their last three seasons under Hughes, but travel to Burnley on Wednesday having won only one of their last five matches.

Back-to-back defeats to Chelsea and at Leicester have left Stoke eight points adrift of eighth-placed West Brom, while half a dozen rivals are now queuing up behind them.

And Hughes has demanded his players find the form to continue their year-on-year improvement.

We have eight games to go and it's clear what we need to do to at least finish in the top 10.

We are always trying to be better than the season before. We have just come through a run which has allowed teams to close in on us.

The displays against Middlesbrough, Manchester City and Chelsea were very good, however Leicester City not so.

Burnley don't change the way they play and play to their strengths.

You have to be nice and solid because they have players who can hurt you.

Burnley's home form has been exceptional. I don't see them being in trouble come the end of the season.

– Mark Hughes

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Hughes: Stoke knew about Berahino's 'spiked' claims

Berahino joined Stoke from West Brom in January Credit: PA

Stoke manager Mark Hughes insists the club knew Saido Berahino's stance on his drugs ban from the outset after the former West Brom striker claimed his drink was spiked.

Berahino served an eight-week suspension earlier this season after failing a drugs test, which he has now said was due to his drink being spiked in a nightclub.

The 23-year-old did not play for West Brom between September and January, when he joined Stoke at the end of the transfer window for a deal worth £15 million.

In an interview with BBC Football Focus, Berahino also said "no-one at the club (West Brom) protected me", that he had become depressed and ended up hating being at the club he joined as an 11-year-old.

And Hughes told reporters in his press conference that there was no reason to think Berahino was telling anything other than the truth over the incident.

That's always been Saido's stance and take on how the drug was in his system. There's no reason to disbelieve him.

We knew from the beginning when we first began that was always his stance, he's never wavered from that. Maybe people will understand that happens in this day and age and a lot have been victims.

There's no reason to disbelieve him, it can happen.

– Mark Hughes

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West Brom accept Stoke offer for striker Berahino

Berahino looks set to join Stoke. Credit: PA

Stoke have had an offer accepted by West Brom for striker Saido Berahino, Press Association Sport understands.

Berahino's protracted move away from The Hawthorns appears closer after the two Premier League clubs agreed a deal which could rise to as much as £15million with add-ons.

The 23-year-old has been a target for Stoke for the past three transfer windows and he is now set to hold talks with Mark Hughes' side over a switch to the bet365 Stadium.

West Brom confirmed they have given Stoke permission to talk with Berahino.

A Baggies statement read: "West Bromwich Albion can confirm the club has today agreed a deal with Stoke City for Saido Berahino.

"As a result, Albion have given Stoke permission to open talks with Berahino about a potential move to the bet365 Stadium. There will be no further comment at this time."

Adam admits his goal at Watford should not have stood

Adam felt that he'd committed a foul in the build-up to the goal. Credit: Reuters

An honest Charlie Adam admitted the winning goal for Stoke should not have stood but believes his side deserved to take the spoils as they won 1-0 at Watford.

Adam headed Xherdan Shaqiri's inswinging corner against a post before watching it ricochet off Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes and into the net .

In the build-up, the Scotland international appeared to shove Valon Behrami to the ground for a goal he feels should have been credited to him and not an own goal to the Brazilian goalkeeper.

Adam told Sky Sports:

It was a goal! I think it was a foul really, I pushed him but we will take it - it's a great win.

I thought we were excellent following last week's disappointment. You need to bounce back and we have done that, it's a tough place to come away from home and we nicked a 1-0 and we played really well.

They had a couple of chances but when the three big lads come up front for the last 10-15 minutes, you get a lot of balls in the box and that's where you have to be solid.

We are delighted with that, it's a good three points and we move onto next week.

– Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam
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