"And about [Charly] Musonda and Luiz, I think they are improving a lot and I think their recovery is very close".
Hughes, already without his first-choice defence as Ryan Shawcross and Bruno Martins Indi were injured and Chelsea loanee Kurt Zouma ruled out, opted to rest Joe Allen, Xherdan Shaqiri and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.
Yet the absences of Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Andreas Christensen in the interest of squad rotation went nearly unnoticed against a hapless Stoke.
"We need to have all my players in the best form, and we know very well in January will be a hard time because of the games, and in February the Champions League starts again, so I need all my players at the top of their game".
Stoke were blown away as goals from Antonio Rudiger, Danny Drinkwater, Pedro, Willian and Davide Zappacosta sealed a 5-0 win that lifted Chelsea to second in the Premier League table.
"I don't think in England you can find a game that you can take in a relaxed way". It's normal when you have to play every two days it's normal to make rotations.
Speaking to BBC Sport during the game, Bruce said of Drinkwater's strike: "Excellent goal". "We didn't have the tools to have a go at Chelsea". They found it hard, which is understandable. "You have to factor that in and we understand that".