Stoke boss Nathan Jones felt his side’s 1-0 defeat to West Brom at the bet365 Stadium was the Potters’ best performance since his appointment.
Dwight Gayle’s header midway through the first half secured a vital three points for the promotion-chasing Baggies, who move up to fourth in the Sky Bet Championship and to within four points of an automatic promotion place.
City, however, slipped to a third successive loss which sees them drop to 17th, but Jones, who joined from Luton in January following Gary Rowett’s departure, believes progress is being made.
He said: “That is the best performance since I’ve been here in terms of all-round work rate, how we moved the ball and structurally. They are a real, real good side but I’m pleased because it is a platform, it is a start there.
“I thought we made real progress, I thought we looked really solid. We switched off for a free-kick and we are disappointed, but in terms of the progress I see what we have made.
“We lost the game and that is disappointing, and people will look at that, but it is a process of how we have built. We took West Brom on today, we lost the game, we didn’t come away with any points, but I’m pleased with the performance.
“I felt we moved the ball really well early on and edged it. We just lacked the cutting edge.”
Gayle glanced beyond goalkeeper Jack Butland with 25 minutes played after Ahmed Hegazi volleyed across goal for the striker to profit from poor defending following a well-worked set-piece started by Stefan Johansen’s free-kick.
In a game of few clear-cut openings, Stoke never tested Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone and were reduced to seeing second-half chances go begging from Tom Ince and Sam Vokes’ late header.
West Brom boss Darren Moore was proud of his players after the win away from home.
Moore said: “You’re always pleased with any win in the Championship.
“This 1-0 win was against a very different Stoke team from where they were at three weeks ago, and credit to Nathan for the work he is doing here and they are only going to get better. To come here for West Brom, every one of our players needed to bring their A game and they did just that.
“This Championship is wide open in scoring goals in games and the boys had to show good concentration, but they did it as a group. It was a collective group effort and it was really good to see.
“We won a tough game here, they put us under real pressure. I felt we used the ball well to take the sting out of the game. It was a difficult, difficult game for us.
“It was our sixth win out of seven away from home and that is great momentum for us.”
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