6 August 2014 23:32
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes is not surprised by the immediate impact made by high-profile new arrival Bojan Krkic.
The 23-year-old forward, who joined Stoke from Spanish giants Barcelona last month, grabbed his third goal in as many pre-season appearances as Hughes’ men recorded a 2-0 home victory over Real Betis.
Bojan’s arrival has sparked considerable excitement at the Britannia Stadium and he was afforded a standing ovation by supporters when coming off towards the end of Wednesday’s game.
Asked if he expected Bojan to settle into his new surroundings so smoothly, Hughes said: “You find good players are very quickly able to adapt to any environment they are in.
“I think that’s what happened with Bojan. He’s showing the undoubted ability that everyone knows he’s got, so we’re really looking forward to him having an exceptional season because he has that ability.”
Hughes has no doubt Bojan can flourish in the Premier League and feels the player’s apparent struggles during spells at Roma, Milan and Ajax have been overplayed.
“To be perfectly honest, I didn’t think it was [a case of Stoke taking] a chance,” added the Welshman.
“Everybody’s saying that he had a bad time at Ajax, Milan, Roma, wherever he’s been. I think people want to put him in a certain box and say he’s struggled for three years; that’s not actually the case. He’s a good player.
“He’s a nice kid as well and he’s got a good support around him here, obviously [with ex-Barcelona team-mate] Marc Muniesa and a number of Spanish-speaking players within the group, which initially will help him.
“He wants to learn English as quickly as possible because that will help him further, but he’s in a good place. He’s very happy.”
Hughes was pleased with Stoke’s overall display against Betis, which saw Erik Pieters open the scoring prior to Bojan finding the net with a thunderous strike from the edge of the area on the stroke of half-time.
“All in all, it was a good workout,” said Hughes. There was some good stuff played. I think we’ve steadily improved as the summer’s gone on.”