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…
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.
The Twitter @loftforwords, @wizardsofdrivel
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