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It's ref justice as Stoke pay penalty again; everton 1 stoke 0.

STOKE manager Mark Hughes fears he will have to change his whole approach to defending after another disputed penalty decision went against them.

The 1-0 defeat at Everton was settled by Shay Given's own goal - Leighton Baines' penalty rebounded off the post and the keeper - after Phil Bardsley was penalised for tangling with Ashley Williams.

Last week Stoke had a spot-kick awarded against them when Ryan Shawcross tussled with Manchester City's Nicolas Otamendi at a corner and Hughes is beginning to see a pattern developing and believes his team are suffering more than most.

"I feared this would happen at the start of the season, that we would be penalised more readily than other teams," said Hughes when asked what difference the new directive on holding in the box had made.

"We are getting the thin edge of the wedge and being penalised.

"There was a similar element in the Tottenham-Liverpool game that wasn't given - maybe because it was two high-profile teams on the TV and they don't get them given against them.

"The one today, there was a lot of movement in the box, Ashley Williams has gone down, whether he clipped his own heels or not.

"There was no pushing, no pulling. I thought it was very harsh.

"We are seriously thinking of changing our approach to set plays.

"If that is how games are going to be refereed, we accept that, but it has to be across the board.

"You guys [the media] had highlighted pictures of Ryan with three or four pictures in the papers this morning.

"He is not the only one, but when it gets mentioned there is a picture of Ryan Shawcross.

"We have to consider zonal marking, which I have never done in my career, or we may have to take certain individuals away from man-marking.

"Hopefully, it will all settle down and everyone will revert to a bit of sanity."

Everton's victory made it seven points from a possible nine and gave them their best start to a league season in 10 years.

Manager Ronald Koeman, celebrating his first Goodison Park league win after taking over from Roberto Martinez in the summer, has promised there is much more to come.

"Maybe it is good to take a picture of that [league table] and keep it until the end of the season," he said.

"We'd like to keep it that way but we need to improve, play better.

"The defensive organisation in the team is good, three matches, two goals, and that is the way to build, but a lot of things offensively we can do better.

"We are still not on the (right) level and we have seven points out of nine."

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Aug 28, 2016
Words:451
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