Newcastle United's Henri Saivet admits Stoke City are 'bizarre'

Henri Saivet admits to judging Stoke by the perception that they have generated abroad, but says he was wrong.

Henri Saivet has admitted to Newcastle United TV that the perception he had of tonight's opponents Stoke City significantly differed to the reality.

The 25-year-old midfielder signed for the Magpies from Bordeaux in January, and concedes that he was pleasantly surprised to discover that Stoke were not the unattractive footballing side that he had believed them to be.

“I think Stoke are one of those teams who are a little bit bizarre," he told NUFC TV.

“When I was in France, Stoke were always known for their long ball and long throws, but I watched them against Aston Villa and I must admit I was a little bit surprised.

"They are a completely different team, they get the ball down and play good football.”

Under former boss Tony Pulis, the Potters had gained a reputation for an ugly brand of football, with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger famously comparing them to a 'rugby' team back in 2010, as quoted by The Independent.

But since Mark Hughes took the reins at the Britannia Stadium, the former Manchester City boss has significantly changed the landscape, even recruiting stylish and established players in the form of Bojan Krkic, Ibrahim Afellay and Xherdan Shaqiri.

Either way, Newcastle will do well to beat Hughes's side, who bring a two-match winning streak into tonight's encounter, while Steve McClaren's men look to boost their survival hopes.

Victory for United - who sit 19th in the Premier League table - would lift them out of the relegation zone at the expense of bitter rivals Sunderland.

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