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 By PA Sport

Mark Hughes: Ref Atkinson should be rested over failure to send off Mignolet

Stoke manager Mark Hughes has said referee Martin Atkinson should not be officiating this weekend.

Hughes thinks Atkinson should face punishment for making a "fundamental, game-changing error" in failing to send off Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet during Stoke's 3-0 home defeat on Wednesday night.

With the score at 1-0, Mignolet tripped Stoke forward Mame Diouf just outside the penalty area, denying a clear goal scoring opportunity, but was only shown a yellow card.

Atkinson will be in charge of Watford's Premier League home game against Tottenham on Saturday.

But Hughes said: "My feelings reflect everybody else's view, the referees who reviewed it since and everybody in the stadium apart from one.

"I don't see why he should be refereeing this weekend. It should be recognised that referees make mistakes. That's my feeling, anyway.

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"It was a huge moment for us clearly because at that point we were in the ascendancy and needed a bit of help from the officials and didn't get it.

"Those are the decisions that frustrate me as a manager, and other managers. Why it wasn't made I don't know. It was a pretty straightforward decision in my view and it wasn't made.

"It denied us an opportunity to have an advantage in terms of numbers. I am angry with that.

"When the officials aren't getting the decisions correct that they should be then it is frustrating."

The loss to Liverpool was a sixth defeat in 10 Premier League matches for Stoke, but Hughes feels his team's performances are better than their results indicate.

"I'd argue on Wednesday that the performance was good,'' Hughes said. "We got to 77 minutes when the second goal went in and we had been well in the game.

"But if you don't get the results then it builds pressure.''

On Saturday Stoke host Swansea, who are second from bottom of the table and four points behind Hughes' side.

The 54-year-old said it was a must-win match, adding: "It feels that way, to be honest. Just for our own benefit and for those who watch us. We have to go out and get the results our performances deserve."

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