Stoke City midfielder Sam Clucas has suggested that the Potters need to start focusing on developing an ability to grind out points on a consistent basis.
The Staffordshire outfit are facing the bleak reality of being firmly involved in a battle for survival in the Championship this season, having picked up just four wins from their opening 19 league games – and Michael O’Neill’s side head into the weekend three points adrift of safety following back-to-back defeats against Cardiff City and Blackburn Rovers.
That has offered a reminder of the situation that Stoke find themselves in, after O’Neill had managed to inspire the Potters to successive wins against Barnsley and Wigan Athletic in his first two games in charge at the Bet365 Stadium.
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Speaking to the Stoke On-Trent-Live, Clucas warned the rest of his teammates that they need to fight to get out of this mess.
“We need to pick up points. It’s no good getting a couple of wins, thinking we’ve turned the corner, then losing a couple after that. We need some momentum and make no bones about it, we are in a dogfight at the minute and we need to get ourselves out of it.
“We are not consistent enough. We’ve had a couple of good performances where we think `Yeah, we’ve got it together now’ and then we come back with a couple of poor performances.
“We’ve got enough quality in the squad, everyone knows that, but we can’t keep saying that because we’re not doing it on the pitch. We need to get our head down and grind results out now, instead of trying to be a pretty football team.”
Clucas is right to suggest that the time for Stoke to be focusing on playing progressive passing football has gone, with the Potters needing to find a way of getting results and gaining some form of momentum to their Championship form.
The Potters have undoubtedly got some quality players within their squad, but that has proved irrelevant so far this campaign with Stoke not managing to find the right balance in both boxes so far this term, meaning they have suffered the most defeats in the league so far.
O’Neill will be attempting to ensure that his side become a much more solid unit and start to be much more difficult to play through, and he will need to achieve that very quickly over the festive period to help Stoke get out of the bottom three.