O’Neill remains calm as Stoke move out of drop zone

Stoke boss Michael O’Neill refused to get carried away after his side’s dramatic 3-2 win over Sheffield Wednesday pushed them out of the relegation zone.

Injury doubt James McLean gave the hosts the lead in the 11th minute, but goals from Morgan Fox and Tom Lees seemingly kept Stoke firmly at the foot of the Championship table.

However, stoppage-time strikes from talented Tyrese Campbell, son of former Arsenal player Kevin, and Sam Vokes stunned promotion-chasing Wednesday to secure a much-needed win.

“It was a great way to win a game,” said O’Neill. “I’m delighted for everyone.

“After 90 minutes we were five points adrift of safety and now we’re out of the relegation zone – that shows you how crazy the Championship is.

“I’m not going to get too carried away because we have a difficult game at Fulham on Sunday. It was a typical Stoke performance, we’ve had to go long and pump balls into the box in stoppage time.

“It was a great finish from Tyrese and it’s great for Sam Vokes to get on the scoresheet.

“I thought it would have been harsh for us to lose that game. We lost two goals off set pieces and it seemed like a game where things might go against us.

“It’s easy for players to feel sorry for themselves in the situation we’re in in the table and being 2-1 behind.

“I’m a big believer in defending set pieces well and it would have been a sickener to lose to two identical corners and we’re thankful that wasn’t the case.

“But they’ve shown great character and there were some really good performances today. We can play better than that and prettier than that but we showed the character we need to get away from the relegation zone.”

The Owls failed to close the gap on the top two as their promotion push hit a snag and manager Garry Monk offered no excuses for his side.

He said: “We got what we deserved today. We weren’t at the races at all and you can’t expect to win games playing like that.

“It’s very frustrating to lead and then lose the game like that at the end. We are bitterly disappointed. We competed better in the last half an hour but we weren’t good enough.

“There was always going to be a fight from them and we didn’t match them.

“We can’t dwell on it and we need to show a reaction and be more determined. We lacked our usual intensity and we have to be frustrated.

“There is a short turn around and we’ll dust ourselves down. We’ll feel the pain but show a reaction like we have done before.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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