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Michael O’Neill delivers clear Stoke City observation



Stoke City manager Michael O’Neill has insisted that the Potters are heading in the right direction and are building the club in the right way as he approaches his second year anniversary.

O’Neill took over at the Bet65 Stadium two years ago when the Potters were deep in relegation danger after a terrible start to the campaign under Nathan Jones. However, the former Northern Ireland manager managed to stabilise Stoke and guided them to safety that season.

Since then, O’Neill has set about re-shaping Stoke’s squad and trying to build a side that are capable of challenging for a place in the Championship’s top six.

That has been done through a steady process of player recruitment and they have first shifted out a number of players, who were on big contracts and were not really featuring.

This season, Stoke have managed to establish themselves amongst a group of sides that are pushing for the play-off positions. They managed to end their four game winless run in the league by beating Blackpool in midweek to move back into the top-six.

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Speaking to the Stoke Sentinel, O’Neill suggested that the Potters are moving in the right direction as a club under his management. While he also insisted that they are building in the right way in terms of their transfer business.

He said: “We’re building a team in a different way than the club tried to do when we first came down into the Championship. We’re signing different players in terms of when we’ve spent money when we’ve been able to spend money. I don’t think we’ve paid for anyone over 23.

“The club is in a different place than where it was two years ago and we have to continue down that road because ultimately I think we’ll continue to progress.

“If I left the club tomorrow I believe it’s in a better place than I found it and that’s the job of a manager, to continue to progress it.

“People will always look at results, which is natural, but for me it’s bigger than that. Of course we want to get out of this league but we’re in the same position as 12 or 14 other clubs in the Championship that all believe they’re capable of doing that. It’s a hugely competitive league.”

The verdict

O’Neill deserves a lot of credit for the job that has been able to do with Stoke since he took over from Jones two years ago. The Potters are looking a lot better placed on and off the field than they were back then and now they just need to demonstrate that by finishing inside the top-six this season.

It has been a case of slow and steady building from the Potters under O’Neill and that is an approach that you do not see too often in the modern game. Therefore, Stoke’s hierarchy do deserve some credit as well for sticking with their vision and giving him time to build the squad and get rid of some high earners.

There is a real chance for Stoke this season to finish in the top-six you feel. They have the quality to be competing amongst the best sides in the division and they just need to re-find their consistency in the coming weeks to make that happen.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Michael O’Neill delivers clear Stoke City observation

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