Goals from Charlie Adam and Steven N’Zonzi put the Potters in charge at half-time and hopes of a comeback in the second half were hit when Vlad Chiriches picked up a second yellow card.
The 10 men fought well with Nabil Bentaleb impressing as a makeshift left-back but the home side added a third goal four minutes from time to cap a pretty miserable day.
“You know that if you want to win at Stoke you need to be at your best collectively as a team and if you are strong as a team, it’s easier to get chances and to manage the game,” reflected Hugo, who wore the captain’s armband again at the Britannia.
“We lost confidence during the game and if you aren’t strong enough, you have no control and that’s what happened.
“We did better with 10 guys but that’s more about pride, 2-0 down, 10 against 11, you stop thinking and you just play.
“All the players now think the same way and that’s to try and win the last two matches and try to finish as high as possible.
“We’re all disappointed and even more so for all the fans who travelled to Stoke.”
We take on Hull City in our last home match of the season on Saturday (3pm) before a the finale at Everton on Sunday, May 24.