Stoke City manager Michael O’Neill has stated that his Potters side must adapt to the lack of atmosphere within stadiums.
The Potters managed to earn a point at Reading on Saturday, as Nick Powell levelled in added time after O’Neill’s side had gone 1-0 down early in the fixture.
Stoke now sit in 18th place in the Championship table and are just two points off the relegation zone, although since O’Neill has come in as manager the side have seen an improvement in key areas of the pitch.
Saturday’s fixture was Stoke’s first game back after the suspension of the season, and the first fixture where supporters were not allowed into the stadium.
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O’Neill has commented on the atmosphere during the game and has insisted that his side must get to grips with it, and fast.
Speaking to FourFourTwo, O’Neill said: “The players moved the ball a bit slowly and that’s probably a consequence of there being a lack of any natural atmosphere.
“But that’s something the players will have to adapt to. You just can’t allow that to disrupt your focus because of what’s at stake here.”
It’s interesting to see O’Neill comment on the atmosphere, and he has to find a way to ensure that his players can play to their maximum level even without fans at the game.
Stoke are in the relegation battle and have to make sure that they don’t slip into the bottom three in the final eight games of the campaign, as that would be a disaster for the football club.
The Potters’ next clash is an absolutely massive one for the club as they take on a Middlesbrough side who are deep in the heart of the relegation battle, and a win for either side could be significant come the end of the campaign.