Hughes praises Arnautovic
Stoke boss Mark Hughes is delighted with the impact Marko Arnautovic has had in the latter stages of his debut Premier League season.
The Austrian forward moved to the Britannia Stadium in a £2million deal from Werder Bremen last summer and has adapted well to life in the English top flight.
Arnautovic, who arrived with a reputation as one of the game's more difficult characters, helped his side to a 1-0 win over Newcastle on Saturday, Stoke's fifth victory in their last seven games.
Hughes believes the 24-year-old is flourishing at the Britannia Stadium and has put the testing times of his spell in Germany behind him.
"It's fair to say he (Arnautovic) came with a little bit of baggage, but we were probably exactly what he needed to get out of the environment he found himself in," he told The Sentinel.
"German football, maybe because of a few episodes there, hadn't taken too kindly to him.
"He's come into an environment that appreciates him, appreciates what he can do for the team, and his personality is different and players enjoy being around him.
"It's not easy to come in and have an impact, certainly as a creative player. It's easier for defensive-minded players. When you are a creative player the onus is on you to win games and that's more difficult.
"But once he's got to grips with it, the second half of the season has been good for the team and good for him."
Hughes has no problem with bringing controversial characters into his side, and believes it is down to the coaching staff to get the best out of all players.
"I just like what they give to your team," he added.
"Invariably, the supposedly more difficult characters give you that spark that can change games, so you have to understand their issues, if they have issues, work around them and get the best out of them.
"That's what I try to do and my staff try to do."