Micah Richards asked about which team he hated to play against most in the Sunday Times newspaper
I used to hate to play against Stoke. The fans were brilliant, it was so hard to play there.
It was always cold and windy at their stadium and you knew you were in for a game.
Stoke were cynical with their fouls, they would kick you but you’d never get given a foul.
I would actually be thinking don’t pick me for this game, I’ve never felt like that in my career.
What has Michael O’Neill brought to Stoke to warrant the transformation
When O’Neill was appointed Stoke sat bottom of the league with just 2 wins all season, we now sit 19th with 9 wins.
O’Neill has done this without adding a single player to the ranks as recent new signing Jordan Thompson hasn’t kicked a ball in anger yet.
Journalists & broadcaster Colin Murrey said at the time of O’Neill appointment. Michael O’Neill doesn’t have 1 ‘style’ – he manages what he has + gets best out of them. Tactically, for NI, he’s been great. Not afraid to make changes, and if u don’t give 100 per cent you WILL NOT PLAY. For us, he inspired pride, on + off pitch.
All of What Colin said is true, we have shown at times we can control the game and other times we have allowed opposing teams to control and we counter. He has got players working for each other and those not willing to give 100% have not played, in some cases been shown the door.
As I’ve said myself on social media Can you imagine what Michael O’Neill could do if he was allowed to spend the £50 odd million Rowett did or the amount of players Jones did. He changed us completely by just teaching the players their jobs
What do you expect for the rest of the season
Michael O’Neill answered questions for tomorrow’s game versus Swansea
When you look back you never find the perfect performance, you’re always striving for better. I felt if we had taken control of the game a little better we would have created similar opportunities to the only goal which we scored.
Swansea City are a good team with some decent young players. We will have to be disciplined in our play but also look to make our own pressure count.
We have situations where players haven’t played and it would be in their best interests to move on and they know that. We have looked at opportunities to bring players in, but equally, if the window shuts without us bringing anyone in, we would be happy with what we’ve got.
Tyrese Campbell won’t be fit for tomorrow. We are optimistic he may be fit for Derby County. Ryan Shawcross is also unavailable for tomorrow. Nick Powell is fine.
We have been fairly good with injuries and touch wood that continues. We have 18 games to go and each one of them will be physically demanding but I think we have done well with managing that to date.
We work hard defensively as a team out of possession. It’s not the easiest work to do but important. The players have been responsive to it. As a unit the team have become stronger.
It would be a disaster if Stoke lost Tyrese Campbell
Stoke need to take a long hard look at them selves if they lose Tyrese Campbell, not just because of the lost investment but because of the future outlook for the academy.
Tyrese was brought to the club by Mark Cartwright, Mark sold the club to Tyrese and his dad as a better way of progressing into the first team football rather than at Man City.
The club forked our £1.75mill for his services, which for a lad his age was a big deal.
Stoke now are under threat of losing our £1.75million signing for as little as £400k if he makes the cross border move to Rangers.
Tyrese was offered a new contract prior to Michael O’Neill being appointed manager at Stoke, O’Neill’s appointment hopefully has not come to late, as Tyrese wanted reassurances of game time after been sold Stoke as a club to better his chances of first team football.
Could Kevin Campbell now see Tyrese’s game time as a means to get him sign a new contract or will he see it as I hope it is, in that Michael O’Neill sees Tyrese as his best striker and that’s why he is playing.
Campbell has been offered an improved contract offer in the past week, an offer that’s comparable with what Rangers are offering him. It’s now up to Kevin & Tyrese to decide whether they still think Stoke is the best place for first team football to continue his progression.
If Campbell doesn’t think his prospects of playing the amount of First team football he wants is at Stoke, then how will that look for those currently in the academy set up, and for an future hopes of attracting top quality youngsters
Interesting few weeks for the club
Match Preview for Saturday’s game versus Swansea
Stoke are starting to look like they are gaining a backbone under Michael O’Neill, with Monday nights victory over WBA, it was reminiscent of a good old Pulis game. Every man put them self on the line to make sure Stoke won, their was no passengers, long may that continue.
History versus Swansea
There have been 73 previous games between the two sides with Stoke just coming out on top with 29 wins to Swansea’s 23.
Over the last 10 games it more one way traffic with Stoke winning 6 of those ten games. The last fixture was a back in October when Stoke came out 2-1 winners, Scott Hogan scores a 90th minute goal to give Stoke our first league win of the season.
West Brom 0-1 Stoke
Stoke 0-0 Millwall
Huddersfield 2-5 Stoke
Swansea 2-1 Wigan
Cardiff 0-0 Swansea
QPR 5-1 Swansea
Swansea sit just outside the play off spots in 7th place, they are 17 points above Stoke.
Steve Copper has got his Swansea side plying some good football at times with André Ayew standing out with his 10 goals & 4 assists. Matt Grimes has been a steadying figure in midfield who’s consistent performances have game Swansea a base to play.
Can Stoke do the double over Swansea again, just like our last season in the Premier League. That year both encounters ended 2-1 to Stoke, is it worth a bet?