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'It's not comfortable' | Micha...
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'It's not comfortable' | Michael O'Neill on Stoke City's basement battle

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

18:37 11 Feb 2020

Stoke City manager Michael O'Neill believes his team can win any game in the English Championship but admits they are not safe from relegation just yet.

The former Shamrock Rovers boss has turned things around since taking over the club when they were anchored to the bottom of the table.

Heading into tomorrow night's home match against sixth-placed Preston, they are two places and five points above the drop zone but O'Neill knows that they cannot afford any slip-ups.

"I wouldn't say it's comfortable," said O'Neill with a wry smile.

"Obviously our objective is to put as much distance between us and the bottom three places as possible.

"To have that little gap is nice but, I think, it was maybe only two weeks ago that we were seven points clear and we had only lost one game."

Stoke's recent results have been so good they are in fifth place based on their last ten matches in the form table.

They are unbeaten in their last six home games (W4 D2), a run that O'Neill would like to keep going when Preston visit the Potteries.

"As I said after the game on Saturday, you're not really in control obviously of what the teams around us do," added O'Neill.

"It's very difficult to predict results in this league as well so our focus is on ourselves and having that little gap is nice but we have to make sure that we just look at what our own points tally is, what our own momentum and run of results is.

"Tomorrow night gives us another opportunity to do that here at home.

"Our home form has been good and it's more about us building on that as opposed to anything else."

There was also a word of warning for Alex Neil's side tomorrow night with O'Neill explaining why confidence is high in the Stoke squad.

"We've beaten the teams in the top half of the league already," said O'Neill.

"The likes of Sheffield Wednesday when they were third. West Brom were top when we played them.

"So we go into these games believing we can win."

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English Championship Michael O'Neill Stoke City

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