Stoke City man Tom Ince admitted that his side didn’t approach their clash against Derby County with the ‘right attitude’, speaking to Stoke-on-Trent Live following yesterday’s 2-1 defeat to Wayne Rooney’s men.
The 29-year-old, who operated at right wing-back for the Potters during the game at Pride Park, managed to pull one back for Michael O’Neill’s men just before the hour mark, though this wasn’t enough to prevent an unexpected defeat away from home.
In the end, the Staffordshire side were undone by two first-half goals in three minutes against a side who had received the news about their imminent entrance into administration the previous evening, with a 12-point deduction on the horizon after only just managing to stay afloat in the second tier last term.
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They endured turbulence off the pitch in the summer too, being placed under a strict EFL-imposed transfer embargo and only managing to recruit five players, leaving them looking very thin in depth in several departments.
This is in stark contrast with Stoke City who had endured an exceptionally productive summer, offloading several high-earners, retaining some of their key players and adding the necessary quality to be competing in the top half of the Championship this term.
The Potters started the season exceptionally well, going unbeaten in four of their first five league games but are currently in fifth due to this weekend’s loss against the Rams.
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Tom Ince believes this defeat was due to the mindset of the Staffordshire outfit’s mindset going into the game, saying to Stoke-on-Trent Live: “I thought the first-half we were sloppy, we didn’t have the energy and to be honest we didn’t have the right attitude.
“We maybe came here thinking we would be comfortable given everything that has happened with this club over the past 24 hours or so, and the way we have started the season ourselves.
“But they are a good side, we started off too slowly and we gave away two poor goals, which is then always going to be challenging to come back from.
“Words were spoken at half-time and rightly so, because we weren’t good enough, but we came out for the second half and I thought we were a lot better.
“After the hour mark or so, when we got it back to 2-1 I really feel that we should have gone on got a point from the game or even won it.”
Considering Derby County’s situation and the emotion involved in yesterday’s tie, it was always going to be a hard task to overcome the Rams on their patch and like many others have, Stoke have seemingly underestimated the East Midlands side.
Sides that face Derby County must realise the quality of some of the players they’re going to come up against despite their lack of squad depth in some positions.
Some will see their central defence as ageing, but Curtis Davies and Phil Jagielka’s experience will be invaluable for the Rams throughout the 2021/22 campaign, they have very talented full-backs who were the subjects of interest from elsewhere, the likes of Max Bird and Jason Knight form as part of a young but capable central midfield and Ravel Morrison and Tom Lawrence need no introduction.
Morrison’s off-the-field antics have been the problem throughout his career – but if anyone can get a tune out of the former Manchester United youth product – it would be Rooney. He could be a brilliant weapon for the East Midlands side to utilise at crucial times.
So Derby can still be extremely dangerous in the Championship and other sides will need to learn from Stoke City’s lesson if they are to succeed against Rooney’s side.