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O'Neill breathing some life into Stoke - Interview
Friday, 14th Feb 2020 15:37 by Clive Whittingham

It's been looking like another Sunderland for a while, but the situation at Stoke City is slightly brighter thanks to the work of new manager Michael O'Neill according to the lads at the Wizards of Drivel podcast.

How would you assess Stoke’s season so far?

It’s been poor, but with signs of improvement. Michael O’Neill has taken us from relegation certainties to a side that should survive.

Stoke league results so far…
Stoke 1-2 QPR (Clucas 81 – Hugill 8, Eze 53)
Charlton 3-1 Stoke (Taylor 25, Eneke 75, Gallagher 83 – Ince 37)
Stoke 2-2 Derby (Hogan 32, 55 – Waghorn 2, pen 70)
Preston 3-1 Stoke (Johnson 7, Bodin 25, Harrup 69 – McClean 89)
Stoke 0-3 Leeds (Dallas 42, Alioski 50, Bamford 66)
Birmingham 2-1 Stoke (Jutkiewicz 73, Bellingham 76 – Lindsay 58)
Stoke 1-2 Bristol City (Clucas 4 – Diedhiou 55, Edwards og 62)
Brentford 0-0 Stoke
Stoke 2-3 Forest (Gregory 10, McClean 84 – Lolley 36, Ameobi 47, Grabban 61)
Stoke 0-1 Huddersfield (Bacuna 82)
Swansea 1-2 Stoke (Ayew 1 – Clucas 22, Hogan 90)
Stoke 2-0 Fulham (Campbell 16, Gregory pen 80)
Sheff Wed 1-0 Stoke (Luongo 43)
Millwall 2-0 Stoke (Thompson 28, Wallace pen 75)
Stoke 0-2 West Brom (Phillips 8, Robson-Kanu pen 69)
Barnsley 2-4 Stoke (McGeehan 47, Schmidt 82 – Clucas 8, 67, Gregory pen 30, Allen 67)
Stoke 2-1 Wigan (Batth 55, Diouf 90 – Morsy 39)
Cardiff 1-0 Stoke (Bacuna 11)
Stoke 1-2 Blackburn (Evans og 80 – Dack 13, Gallagher 84)
Hull 2-1 Stoke (Bowen 49, 56 – Vokes 8)
Stoke 3-0 Luton (McClean 35, Allen 45, 50)
Stoke 0-0 Reading
Middlesbrough 2-1 Stoke (Fletcher 57, Wing 71 – Clucas 53)
Stoke 3-2 Sheff Wed (McClean 11, Vokes 90, Campbell 90 – Fox 67, Lees 74)
Fulham 1-0 Stoke (Reid 26)
Huddersfield 2-5 Stoke (Mounie 48, Batth og 50 – Vokes 15, Powell 57, Campbell 66, 70, Gregory 90)
Stoke 0-0 Millwall
West Brom 0-1 Stoke (Campbell 9)
Stoke 2-0 Swansea (Clucas 55, McClean 90)
Derby 4-0 Stoke (Waghorn 21, martin 24, Rooney 67, Bogle 74)
Stoke 3-1 Charlton (McClean 28, Ince 47, Powell 66 – Purrington 45)
Stoke 0-2 Preston (Browne 58, Barkhuizen 75)

Why didn’t it work out for Nathan Jones, bright young thing in management when appointed?

Many reasons but a lack of recruitment in the right areas hamstrung him straight away. He didn’t implement the diamond formation in midfield that had worked well for him at Luton early enough and when we did our fullbacks weren’t the effective ones he’d had at Kenilworth Road.

Given that Rowett and Jones were both highly rated, done well elsewhere, is it fair to say the problems at Stoke run deeper than the manager? What are those other issues?

There’s a lack of joined up thinking in recruitment, and in fact our head of recruitment Phil Chapple left yesterday after just five months. We seem to just panic buy players we then can’t shift. We’re a bit of a shambles off the pitch with FFP problems looming.

What did you make of Michael O’Neill?

Sceptical given his lack of club experience but he’s been excellent. He’s instilled belief and we look like we can score goals again.

Any January transfer business done?

James Chester could be a decent addition if he can recapture his Villa form from their promotion.

Summer Ins: Tommy Smith, 27, RB, Huddersfield, £4m >>> Liam Lindsay, 23, CB, Barnsley, £2m >>> Lee Gregory, 30, CF, Millwall, Free >>> Adam Davies, 26, GK, Barnsley, Free >>> Nick Powell, 25, CF, Wigan, Free >>> Stephen Ward, 33, LB, Burnley, Free >>> Jordan Cousins, 25, CM, QPR, Free >>> Mark Duffy, 34, CM, Sheff Utd, Loan >>> Cameron Carter-Vickers, 23, CB, Spurs, Loan >>> Scott Hogan 27, CF, Villa, Loan

Summer Outs: Erik Pieters, 30, LB, Burnley, £900k >>> Charlie Adam, 33, CM, Reading, Free >>> Saido Berahino, 26, CF, Zulte Waregam (Belgium), Free >>> Geoff Cameron 34, DM, QPR, Free >>> Benik Afobe 26, CF, Bristol City, Loan >>> Kevin Wimmer 26, CB, Mouscron (Belgium) Loan >>> Josh Tymon, 20, LB, Famalicao, Loan >>> Harry Souttar, 20, CB, Fleetwood, Loan >>> Darren Fletcher, CM, Released >>> Jakob Haugaard, GK, Released >>> Badou Ndiaye, 29, CM, Trabzonspor, Loan >>> Giannelli Imbula, 26, DM, Lecce, Loan >>> Moritz Bauer 27, RB, Celtic, Loan

Winter Ins: >>> James Chester, 31, CB, Villa, Loan >>> Jordan Thompson, 23, CM, Blackpool, Undisclosed

Winter Outs: >>> Bojan Krcic, 28, CF, Montreal, Free >>> Cameron Carter-Vickers, 23, CB, Spurs, Loan cancelled >>> Scott Hogan 27, CF, Villa, Loan cancelled >>> Mark Duffy, 34, CM, Sheff Utd, Loan cancelled >>> Ryan Woods 26, CM, Millwall, Loan

Stand out players and weak links in the side?

Weakness: the left side of the pitch with James McClean’s knee injury keeping him out for several weeks.. Keep an eye out for Kevin Campbell’s son Tyrese Campbell who is an excellent prospect and has five goals in nine starts and 11 sub appearances this season.

It’s been a pretty dire two and a half years, from a midtable Premier League team to this – how do Stoke turn it around from here?

By giving O’Neill time to get his feet under the desk and thinking more about the long term.

Links >>> Stoke City official website >>> Stoke Sentinel – Local press >>> The Oatcake – Message Board >>> The Wizards of Drivel – Podcast

The Twitter @loftforwords, @wizardsofdrivel

Pictures – Action Images

Action Images



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TacticalR added 12:06 - Feb 15
Thanks to the Wizards.

The short-termism is puzzling as Peter Coates is still the owner and has been there for a long time. As noted many times before, falling out of the Premier League is traumatic and it sounds like it's left Stoke reeling. Despite everything, Stoke have had some good results this season.
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