Stoke City boss Michael O’Neill has hit back at questions over his commitment to Stoke City after the Northern Irishman was quizzed over his role of juggling two big jobs with Stoke and the Northern Ireland national team.
O’Neill only took over as manager of the Potters back in November and has already put in some great work to get the Midlands club out of their relegation predicament as they currently sit in 21st place.
The experienced manager is set to keep his role as Northern Ireland boss until after the country’s European Championship play-off tie against Bosnia and Herzegovina, thus combining two high-pressured jobs.
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And now the 50-year-old has moved to allay any fears that he could be distracted from his club duties by stating the following to the Stoke Sentinel:
“The Northern Ireland job doesn’t distract me in any way from the challenge at Stoke, every day and all day.
“It’s just trying to make sure this club stays in the Championship because not doing that is obviously not something I would want to happen, and the owners certainly wouldn’t want that to happen.
“We find ourselves in a difficult position and I was brought in to rectify that and that’s obviously what I’m trying to do.”
It has been something of an inconsistent period for the Potters on the field of play, with the Bet365 outfit winning two and losing three of their last five league outings, thus seeing them slip closer to the dreaded red line of the relegation zone in recent weeks.
O’Neill is saying all the right things as he seeks to avoid a conflict of interests between the hierarchies of Stoke City and the Northern Ireland national team.
The manager splits his time effectively between both jobs and has done a good job with both so far, with Stoke in particular really finding a new lease of life under the Northern Irishman since he took charge late last year.
His immediate focus will be on helping the Potters to avoid an unthinkable relegation to League One, whilst his commitments with Northern Ireland will surely come to the fore as the play-off games draw closer.
Meanwhile, the Northern Irishman will be seeking for his side to get back to winning ways this coming weekend as they take on Cardiff City at the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday.