REUTERS – Manager Mark Hughes said Stoke City could beat any opponent in the League Cup after his side reached the tournament’s semi-finals for the first time since 1972, when they went on to win the trophy.
Stoke, who beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 on Tuesday night to progress, could face Manchester City, Everton, Liverpool or Southampton, who all sit above them in the Premier League table, but Hughes was adamant his team could beat anyone over two legs.
“We’d love to go all the way but there’s still some good teams left in,” he said after the game.
“It’s going to be difficult but I think we are enjoying these games and we’ll look forward to the two huge ones in the coming weeks.
“Over two games I think we’d back ourselves against anybody.
“Southampton we beat a couple of weeks back. We did the double over Everton last season, we have beaten Manchester City and Liverpool, I seem to recall, we beat in the last game of last season, so we have got a chance.”
The manager also hailed the strength in depth of his squad after they breezed past Sheffield despite the Welshman making five changes to the side that were beaten 2-0 by Sunderland in the Premier League on Saturday.
“It shows the strength of the group that we can make the amount of changes that we did and still be able to comfortably win a game against strong opposition,” Hughes said.
“That is hugely encouraging for us moving forward. The guys who came in made a real impact just as I knew they would.”
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)