Michael O’Neill got off to a winning start to life as manager of Stoke City yesterday.

His newly inherited Potters side won 4-2 against fellow strugglers Barnsley at Oakwell.

Two goals from midfielder Sam Clucas, Lee Gregory and Joe Allen meant they left South Yorkshire with a valuable three points. Cameron McGeehan and Patrick Schmidt got the goals for the hosts.

Stoke have leapfrogged Barnsley into 23rd and are now three points from safety after their third win in 16 matches so far this season.

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Their new boss Michael O’Neill said, as per the Potters’ official club website: “We had to match their desire – no-one has a God-given right to be in the Championship. I’m obviously delighted with the result. It’s one step in the right direction. It’s very pleasing. It was a very good performance.”

“Sam (Clucas) had a great performance and they were two great goals. His all-round game is excellent, hopefully the knock isn’t too serious.”

He added: “In this third of the season, it is very important to get the three points. We showed a lot of quality today. The key was to make sure we got the result and the performance. They tested us to the max and they deserve a lot of credit for that.”

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O’Neill is continuing his Northern Ireland managerial duties for their remaining two games of the Euros 2020 qualifying campaign: “It’s important for me to finish the campaign with Northern Ireland. The players have given me everything for the last seven, eight years. It was a hard decision, but I thought it was a risk worth taking.”


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