Alex Neil expresses that the recent week has displayed the true capabilities of his Stoke team for the remainder of the Sky Bet Championship season. Despite a slow start, the Potters have come alive in the past week, securing consecutive victories against Sunderland, Leeds, and Middlesbrough.
In their latest triumph, Stoke emerged as 2-0 victors over Boro at the Riverside Stadium, with goals from Michael Rose and Mehdi Leris during the first half. As a result, Stoke has now climbed into the top half of the table, marking their highest position this season. Neil is confident that his team will only improve further as their summer signings continue to settle into the squad.
He stated, “The last three results and performances demonstrate our potential. We appear to have found stability in terms of our playing style, and we have achieved three tremendous performances and results in a row. While we must remain grounded, considering Stoke’s history of false dawns, we possess significant potential and room to grow. I anticipate a strong season ahead.”
Stoke’s victory came at the expense of goalkeeper Mark Travers, who was called back by his parent club Bournemouth due to an injury to their first-choice goalkeeper, Neto. Neil expressed his disappointment, emphasizing the importance of having a robust squad. He also acknowledged Travers’ progress at the club, stating, “He was getting comfortable here and had an excellent game just before his departure. It’s unfortunate, as he has only played a few games for us, but football always presents challenges.”
Middlesbrough found themselves chasing the game after Rose’s early header from a corner in the eighth minute. Their deficit increased when Leris struck a well-placed shot into the bottom corner eight minutes before halftime. Although Josh Coburn’s long-range effort hit the crossbar, Michael Carrick admitted that his team fell short of their own standards, having recently embarked on a seven-game winning streak that has now come to an end.
Carrick admitted, “It’s disappointing, but we must also consider the quality of the opposition. Stoke is a good team, and if you are slightly off your game in this league, you will be punished. It highlights the level of performance required to secure victories convincingly. Right from the beginning, we could sense that something was amiss. Even at halftime, when we finished the half relatively well, we believed we had a chance to bounce back in the second half. Unfortunately, it didn’t materialize.”
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