Alex Neil’s makes honest  admission as he talks on his facinating Stoke City’s task…

Stoke City legend Mike Pejic runs the rule over the last week and previews a Championship clash against Cardiff legend Mike Pejic runs the rule over the last week and previews a Championship clash against Cardiff.

There are a lot of people up and down the Championship, including around here, who will have been surprised at Stoke City’s rush of wins. Some, I’m sure, will have been more pleasantly surprised about it than others.

But I think there were signs over a couple of the previous games that this new-look squad was starting to form partnerships and relationships that are the key to everything clicking. You could see that trust was starting to appear between players and Alex Neil.

You could see that a Plan A was emerging with two wide attacking players and a sitting midfielder protecting the back four. You could start to see understanding of what was required improving week by week and fluency starting to appear.

The timing of that transferring to results was important, coming against Neil’s old club when they were fourth top and we were fourth bottom. That was a moment in time when it felt like do or die – and the mood has lifted thanks to what has happened from then.

Belief and confidence are growing because players are developing faith in each other and what they are doing as a collective. That builds a spirit and, as we say in the martial arts world, a spirit is too hard to be broken. It’s nurtured in training and forged in matches. It drives a club forwards.

It all comes back to backing Neil to make major decisions to overhaul the club and then continue to back him while things settle down. All of a sudden a task that must have looked incredibly daunting doesn’t seem quite so impossible anymore.

Long may it continue. If you can get three wins in a row, it shifts people’s opinions. It’s a wake-up call to people across the division that Stoke aren’t just here to make up the numbers. The task ahead of us now is to take this platform and jump from it. Keep going. An expectation level has been set now in terms of performances and you can’t drop below those standards.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.