Much-changed Stoke please manager Michael O’Neill

Posted Wednesday, August 11, 2021 by PA

Much-changed Stoke please manager Michael O’Neill

Delighted Stoke boss Michael O’Neill praised his side as they eased to a 2-1 victory over Fleetwood in the EFL Cup.

Northern Irishman O’Neill was pleased with his team’s dominant display as goals from new signing Sam Surridge, his second goal in as many games, and a bullet header from skipper Harry Souttar did the damage for the Potters.

“There were a lot of good things and a lot to work on as well,” said O’Neill.

“It was difficult at times, but we made 10 changes and we’re trying to get that continuity in terms of how the team plays and structure of the team and knowing options in possession.

“I think at times in the first half it showed a little bit. We were a little bit careless at times with our choices.

“But overall I don’t think the result was ever in any great doubt, certainly after we scored. There were a lot more positives than negatives.

O’Neill’s 10 changes certainly made for an interesting evening, especially as Fleetwood boss Simon Grayson made six changes from Saturday.

And O’Neill revealed he is still keen to bolster his squad despite two victories in the space of four days.

“There’s still one or two positions where we need more competition for places needs to be there, but we need to find the right type of player who will come in and add that competition,” revealed O’Neill.”

Fleetwood boss Grayson was left frustrated with his side’s defeat, but pleased with the character they showed against a “strong” Championship outfit.

“They’re [Stoke] a good team, a strong football club and they’ve just spent £5million on a striker [Surridge] who played tonight,” said Grayson.

“But in the first half there wasn’t a great deal in it. Alex Cairns didn’t have too many saves to make and I thought our shape was good.

“But just on half-time we were 1-0 down after three mistakes. However, in the second half we should have been a bit more positive and tried to create more.

“We just didn’t pass the ball as well as we did in the first half, but then they get a goal midway through the second half and that rocked us.

“But we showed good character, hung in there and tried to get something out of the game.”


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