Hughes convinced Stoke can cause Chelsea problems

Mark Hughes expects his Stoke side to push Chelsea all the way despite their track record of just two wins in their past 17 Premier League matches against the Blues.

The Potters manager faces his former side at the Britannia on Saturday knowing they have won this fixture in two of the past three seasons.

And Hughes said the performance in losing a six-goal thriller at Stamford Bridge earlier this term gives him cause for optimism.

“We were beaten 4-2 eventually, but in the game itself we we pushed them really hard,” Hughes said. “It was only in the last five minutes that the fourth goal went in.

“We have caused them problems in the past. We are on the back of a really good performance against Man City [0-0 away draw] who are one of the teams that are close to Chelsea.

“We have shown that we can acquit ourselves really strongly against these teams. It is about us trying to get to the level we hit against Man City and if we do that then we will push them close.”

Stoke will be without injured ex-Chelsea full-back Glenn Johnson for the match, in which an away win would see Antonio Conte’s men extend their lead at the top of the Premier League table to 13 points.

Second-placed Tottenham and third-placed Manchester City play on Sunday.