When it was revealed that Tony Pulis would be stepping down at Stoke City at the end of last season, it came as a shock to many fans and left many wondering who would succeed the long serving Welshman.
Well it was in fact another Welshman, Mark Hughes was appointed the new manager, the former Manchester City and QPR gaffer admitted he has a point to prove after a disappointing spell at QPR.
During his seven years at Stoke, Pulis adopted a very controversial yet effective style of play which turned the Britannia into one of the hardest away trips in the Premier League, even for the top sides. Many critics and managers disliked Stoke’s long ball style of play, especially Arsene Wenger who criticised their tactics and called them a dirty side after Aaron Ramsey’s leg break in February 2010.
Now one of the biggest challenges Hughes faces is too stick to the style of play that the players know so well, or to adopt his own philosophy. After many years of playing to their strengths with the long ball tactic will Hughes risk a season of transition to a new style of play which could be costly?
Players such as Robert Huth and Ryan Shawcross will not be used to playing out from the back and it could be difficult for them to adapt to a new style, however Hughes will have to use the pre-season period wisely and decide on which path he wishes to follow with his new side.
We have seen before a season of transition can be costly and result in the manager losing his job or even worse the club being relegated and after a hugely disappointing spell at QPR Hughes will be keen to make a good first impression with his new club.
The transfer market will also be vitally important to Stoke as they need to strengthen their squad after a lacklustre season by their standards.
If Hughes wishes to change the sides philosophy he will have the pick the right players for the job, the signings he makes could be vitally important to the way the Potters perform next season.
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