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Michael O’Neill speaks out on Stoke City frustration

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Stoke City had an average season finishing 14th in the league and failing to make any progress on their position from the previous season, picking up just two more points than they did in 2020/21. 

This is especially disappointed given the fact they had broken into the top six earlier in the season and a chance to compete in the play-offs looked like a real possibility.

This season will be Michael O’Neill’s third in charge, so the manger will be hoping his side can show significant improvement in order to progress.

O’Neill is well aware of the importance of an improvement as he labelled his side’s season as frustrating, telling Stoke-on-Trent Live when asked to reflect on the campaign: “[It’s been] Very frustrating really, from where we were sitting in November time.

“At the time you never really know how pivotal Harry’s [Souttar] injury was going to be and we lost Harry and Joe Bursik in that international window at the same time.

“Then we had a difficult period after that or that was the start of maybe when we had a lot of inconsistency.

“The frustration was that I didn’t think we were outplayed this season but ultimately we didn’t win enough games. We have to look at why that was. We were in winning positions a lot of times and couldn’t see through.

“I feel a little bit that when we were ahead but the opposition got level we didn’t look like we could go and win it again. We looked a little bit unsure and a little bit short on confidence at times in those situations and we have to be a bit stronger.

“I think maybe people didn’t realise that we had a lot of players in our team that didn’t have loads of Championship games. Look at Josh [Tymon] and Tyrese [Campbell] and Jacob [Brown], they’re building their games all the time but they haven’t played over 100 Championship games yet…Maybe we were a bit young and inexperienced at times.

“But ultimately we look back on the season and points that we lost and that always leaves you with frustration because we felt that we could have been closer to a top six position.”

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However, looking forward the Stoke boss feels as though his side are ready to progress next season, as he said: “Overall when I look at us as a team I think we’ll be ready to go again. They key for us is to build a squad.

“We’re a Championship club, we don’t have parachute payments. We have some legacy players on high wages which are hurting us a bit. But we have players in our club who are worth money and we believe those players can help us get up to the next level of football. We believe those players, with the right players around them, can help us go to the next level.”

The Verdict: 

You can understand O’Neill’s frustration at his side’s season especially after they were pushing so high earlier on in the season to then finish mid-table.

Injuries definitely didn’t help his side but it’s good to see the boss also acknowledging the shortcomings of his team both in terms of personnel, as well as they way they play and command themselves in games.

You can take from his comments that O’Neill is keen to get some high wage players off the books this season and also make some additions to help those players he sees as quality in his side.

There is certainly a job to be done over summer but if the recruitment process is right and the manger can free up the space he wants in the side, then there is definitely a good chance that the Potters can push up the table next season.


Passionate football fan. Currently studying a masters at UCFB alongside writing for Football League World.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Michael O’Neill speaks out on Stoke City frustration

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