Mark Hughes says Marko Arnautovic's focus firmly on football

Stoke manager Mark Hughes is pleased Marko Arnautovic is concentrating on his football, rather than becoming sidetracked by contract talks.

Mark Hughes says Marko Arnautovic's focus firmly on football

Arnautovic’s representatives have been in negotiations with the club for some time about extending the big Austrian’s stay at the Britannia Stadium.

On Saturday the 26-year-old, whose existing Stoke deal runs until the summer of 2017, marked his 100th appearance for the club with both goals, the first from the penalty spot, in a 2-1 home win against Aston Villa. The double moved Arnautovic onto 10 goals for the season - his most prolific return since arriving for an undisclosed seven- figure fee from Werder Bremen in September 2013.

“I think he’s just prepared to play his football and let other people have conversations about (his contract). When the time comes he will sit down,” said Hughes.

“And that’s the right attitude. He wants to concentrate on his football and when it needs to be signed it will be.

“Marko is doing really well. Since he’s come here, we have talked about his ability, power and pace. The one thing lacking in the last two seasons has been a goal threat and he’s added that this year.

“If he wants to be the player he tells everyone he wants to be, he’s got to add that and he’s done that this year.

Villa look doomed. Manager Remi Garde make only one change to the team that lost 6-0 against Liverpool, with Alan Hutton replacing Micah Richards in defence, but the Frenchman did, at least, get a positive response from his players.

Garde said: “I think the way the team behaves (against Stoke) gives me reason not to make too many changes, because I think in terms of spirit the same players responded very well. I don’t think I have too much choice, secondly.”

“There are still 11 games to play. Results for our direct rivals were not bad for us. But I always say the same, I’m not looking at our rivals. There are still a lot of points to play for.”

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