Mark Hughes wants to see more big performances from Marko Arnautovic

By dsguser
05 March 2017

Stoke boss Mark Hughes feels Marko Arnautovic should be showing the kind of form he did in Saturday's 2-0 win over Middlesbrough more often.

A sparkling display from the Austrian winger at the bet365 Stadium saw him net both of the Potters' goals.

The first came in the 29th minute when he controlled Glenn Whelan's long forward pass, got away from George Friend and past Victor Valdes before firing into the net.

Arnautovic then added a close-range finish in the 42nd minute after Peter Crouch headed the ball his way from a corner, taking his tally of Premier League goals for the season to five.

After the game, Hughes said of Arnautovic, who was Stoke's top-scorer last term with 11 league goals: "He's a big player for us clearly, not only in stature but the way he plays the game.

"He gives us a threat in behind and has power and pace.

"When he makes those type of runs across the front it is very difficult for defenders to deal with it.

"He is a big guy with lots of power, and he should do it more often in fairness - get in those situations and create probably more chances and score more goals.

"When it does come off for him, he is very difficult to stop."

Stoke moved up a place to ninth on Saturday, while struggling Middlesbrough dropped down one from 17th to enter the relegation zone as their winless run in the league extended to a 10th game.

It was the fourth league match in a row that saw them fail to score, and registering goals has been a major problem throughout the campaign for Boro - they have just 19, the lowest tally of any club in the division.

Defensively, things have been fairly solid for the Teessiders in general, with them heading into this contest having conceded only 28 times in 26 games.

But boss Aitor Karanka, who lost centre-back Daniel Ayala to a hamstring injury early on in the match, was disappointed with his side's defending for both goals, particularly given the way they had prepared for Stoke in the build-up.

Karanka said: "When we were trying to get confidence in the game we conceded a goal - in a way we knew, because we had seen on video.

"We conceded the second goal from a set-piece.

"When you are playing to survive in the Premier League, to concede those goals - in situations we knew before the game - it is difficult.

"This is the Premier League and one mistake, you are punished."

Boro are three points adrift of safety.

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