His West Brom team earned a gritty 1-0 defeat over a below par Potters team thanks to a 20th minute header by Baggies striker Brown Ideye. Post match he said: “I had a great 10 years at Stoke, it was a wonderful journey but today it was about West Bromwich Albion and we played really well.”
After back to back defeats to local rivals Aston Villa, the Baggies needed three points to get back on track but rarely beat Stoke, who won the last five meetings at The Hawthorns.
The game lacked imagination for much of the 90 minutes. The flicker of inspiration came with 20 minutes on the clock. A cross from the right hand side by Craig Gardner was headed in by Ideye, on target for the fourth time this season.
Arguably the biggest talking point of the first half was Saido Berahino’s goal which was disallowed. A through ball by James Morrison took a deflection off a Stoke defender and found its way to Berahino in an offside position. However the ball was spilled back into play by Stoke ‘keeper Asmir Begovic straight into the path of Berahino who rolled the ball into an empty net. The referee’s assistant ruled the goal out sparking furious protests from Tony Pulis and head scratching from thousands in the ground. “They make the rules up as they go along,” was the Baggies boss’s view after the game.
Sadly even a flare let off by the away fans couldn’t light up an otherwise dull first half and the second half did not offer much more with James Morrison coming closest for West Brom with a fierce volley which was tipped over by Begovic.
With 10 minutes left, goalscorer Ideye took a knock to the knee and with Albion so limited in the striking department, centre back Jonas Olsson was thrown on to fill the void, adding a touch of humour in the process.
Despite this Albion hung on to earn a victory which takes them 11 points clear of the relegation zone.
As for the Potters, their three game winning streak came to an end with manager Mark Hughes making no bones about the poor performance. “We didn’t play particularly well today,” said the Welshman. “We spoke at length about not conceding the first goal; unfortunately that’s what happened. In the first half we didn’t ask any questions of West Brom... in the end they were able to defend quite comfortably.”