Michael O’Neill answered the questions in today’s Press conference for the upcoming tie versus Blackburn Rovers at the bet365 Stadium
“In Midweek we limited Cardiff to very little in way of chances, how ever what we did when we had the ball was not good enough.
The response I’ve got from the players has been good. We’ve looked through everything & talked about what we can do as a team to be better with and without the ball.
Over the last two days we’ve tried to improve getting the ball into the box and crosses from wide areas
We have to be more consistent throughout the game, we also need to play with the same attitude as we did in my first two games.
We try to put out our best side out in every game, we are not in a position to rest players
James McClean is fine despite stitches on his knee, he’s trained the last couple of days. We have a concern over Liam Lindsay. Ryan Shawcross is training but we have to protect him. Shawcross won’t play till he’s 100%
New Assistant Manager
Billy McKinlay has very high standards and has worked with some top players. He brings clarity to training and a real structure to how we play. He ensures that training is at a high level.
We do set team and individual performance goals, but at the moment the next goal is to win versus Blackburn
The supporters are huge, The atmosphere created last weekend was great & really pushed the team on in the final few minutes. If they can give us that little extra bit they will see it in the players too. The fans are fantastic here and we will need that to continue.
James McClean has a lot of quality and that quality was missed on Tuesday night. We are glad he will be back to face Blackburn
According to Izmir-based regional newspaper Yeni Asir, Goztepe are interested in signing Stoke City forward Mame Biram Diouf
Goztepe president Mehmet Sepil has also contacted Diouf’s agent, and Yeni Asir say the Super Lig side ‘will push hard’ to land the 31 year old.
Gozetpe already have one ex Stokie among its ranks, Cameron Jerome joined Gozetpe just over a year ago. Jerome has scored only once this season in his 8 league games.
Would you want Diouf to Leave
Diouf has only just been brought back in from the cold, he is a very popular player among the staff and players. Would letting him go help the morale in camp?
Match Preview: Stoke take on Blackburn at the bet365 Stadium
Saturday’s game will be the 95th meeting between the two sides
Blackburn over history have faired a touch better than the Potters
Stoke wins 36
Blackburn wins 43
Over the last 10 meeting though it’s Stoke who have faired better with the Potters winning 6 of them.
The last meeting between the sides happened back in April, Peter Etebo scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 victory. The last meeting at the bet365 Stadium was a spectacle, Blackburn ran into a deserved 3-0 lead for then Saido Berahino to inspire a come back which ended with his 93rd minute penalty miss with the score at 2-3.
Blackburn have hit a little bit of form of late, winning 3 of the last 4 games. This form has pushed them up to 13th in the league, ten points above Stoke.
Last 3 results
Barnsley 2-4 Stoke
Stoke 2-1 Wigan
Cardiff 1-0 Stoke
Leeds 2-1 Blackburn
Blackburn 3-2 Barnsley
Blackburn 1-0 Brentford
Players to watch
Bradley Dack is well known to Stoke fans, back in that 3-2 loss to them last year he was the fulcrum that kept Blackburn ticking, nothing seems to have changed this season. Dack has already scored 8 goals from midfield.
Stewart Downing is having a decent season following his free transfer from Middlesbrough. Downing has 1 goal and two assists in the past three game.
Stoke must get back to winning ways with the likes of Middlesbrough winning in midweek else that gap to safety is going to get worrying again. The inclusion of man of the moment James McClean should help Stoke’s prospects.
What are your expectations for the game?
Boost for Stoke as James McClean is expected to be back for Blackburn game
The past three games have shown us that McCleans direct running and pace is needed if we are to get anything out of a game.
His suspension for the Cardiff game highlighted the clubs lack of width and pace, something that will need to be addressed in the January window.
McClean got a slight knock v Wigan at the end of the game which resulted in him offering on all the Wigan players from how it looked.
That knock to the knee required stitches but it is not expected to keep him out of the next game.
Michael O’Neill would of seen lots in last nights defeat to Cardiff, to give him ammunition for training.
Firstly, the lack of movement was there for all to see. No one showed for the ball and on the few occasions the attackers did come short to receive a pass they failed to take on their man, resulting in the ball been lost or going all the way back to Danny Batth.
As for Batth, his passing isn’t good enough to be continually starting the attacks. Last night was compounded by not having his usually outlets in Tom Edwards & Peter Etebo. Edwards the majority of games is among our sides top passer in the game, last night it was Danny Batth who only managed to pass to a Team mate with 68 out of 91 passes.
I cannot critique Batth that much as it’s not his game & his team mates should no that. The likes of Allen, Woods & Ndayie should of showed more for the pass from him. Unfortunately non of those three are happy receiving a pass under pressure, infact Peter Etebo is the only player that can receive a ball with a player on his back and be able to turn to start an attack. Last night every time Batth played the short ball into midfield, the ball inevitable was back at his feet within 4 passes of the ball, resulting in Batth playing it long to Gregory who has got little chance against Flint in the air.
Last night highlighted the lack of pace, urgency and ability to run with the ball at the oppositions back 4 without James McClean on the pitch. Who’d of thought that with all the grief James McClean & Sam Clucas have had to endure, that they are the only shining light so far from Micheal O’Neill’s management
What is needed in January to help Michael O’Neill with his task of keeping Stoke in the Championship