Relieved Huth gets himself off the hook

STOKE’S match-winner Robert Huth was a relieved man after his two goals against Sunderland cancelled out the errors he made at the other end of the pitch in their 3-2 victory at the Britannia Stadium.

The German centre-back was caught napping when Kieran Richardson fired home Asamoah Gyan’s bungled shot in the second minute, and just after half-time he was culpable in allowing the Ghana striker to turn him in the penalty area to make it 2-1.

However, after John Carew’s first-half equaliser, Huth used all his physical presence in the Sunderland box to convert two Jermaine Pennant free-kicks in the last seven minutes, with the winner coming three minutes into added time.

“It was great it went for us at the end because it didn’t look like it was going to for long periods,” he said.

“It is a bit unlike me to make a mistake so I was gutted and I wanted to make sure it was not my mistake that we lost.”

Huth credited the on-loan Carew, who scored his first Stoke goal on his home debut since arriving from Aston Villa, and fellow forward Kenwyne Jones for keeping them in the game.

The pair were major threats for Rory Delap’s long throws and the teasing deliveries of wingers Pennant and Etherington and kept the Sunderland defence on their toes all afternoon.

“We stuck at it. We kept putting the ball in the box and Kenwyne and John were great at holding it up,” added the 26-year-old Huth, who believes the side should now start getting credit after moving back into the top half of the table.

“We have got a game in hand on Sunderland and are four points behind so it is a good position because everyone is talking about how well they are doing.”

However, Stoke manager Tony Pulis is concentrating on securing a fourth successive season in the top flight.

“The points tally (for survival) will be a lot more this year than last year so we want to get over that line and then look at the table and see where we go from there,” he said.

Stoke’s first two goals both had a suggestion of offside about them with the second also appearing to come off Carew’s arm just before Huth knocked it over the line.

Sunderland debutant Sulley Muntari was pleased with his return to the Barclays Premier League, having previously played for Portsmouth, but nothing could make up for the disappointment of it ending in defeat.

“It was not a good feeling because we wanted to win and get three points,” the on loan Inter Milan midfielder added.

“For the past week I have been training with them and they are fantastic guys and it is amazing here so we are going to have a good season.

“I am very happy to be back but all the same it is a bit sad.”

“But we have a good manager and the guys are good and we are determined to win the next game.”

Black Cats boss Steve Bruce is hopeful his defence copes better with Spurs’ aerial threat.

“I thought some of our football and movement and passing was good at times, however, not being able to handle balls played into our box cost us the match,” he said. “We’re likely to face (6ft 7ins) Peter Crouch next week so we’ll have to do better.”

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