Stoke City fell to a 2-1 defeat away to Sheffield United on Saturday leaving manager Michael O’Neill frustrated.
O’Neill highlighted ‘key individual errors’ that led to Stoke’s late defeat in the game at Bramall Lane.
The Potters were on course for their second consecutive win thanks to Jacob Brown’s well-taken opener in the 55th minute. However, the game turned on its head with ten minutes remaining.
Forward David McGoldrick proved to be the difference after coming on as a substitute in the 77th minute, he assisted Lys Mousset for the equaliser in the 80th minute before grabbing the winner himself three minutes later.
It left O’Neill frustrated at his sides defending for the goals as he told the Stoke Sentinel: “The first goal was incredibly poor from our point of view because we commit ourselves and get caught out for doing so.
“Ben (Wilmot) commits and gets caught, then Harry (Souttar) does the same thing, and then James Chester overcommits too – and ultimately when you do that, one of those players has to get it right.”
It left the Northern Irishman bemoaning individual errors that meant his side left with nothing: “Those key errors cost us, and then for the second goal we have more than enough men in the penalty area, I think there were seven, to deal with the ball which came across the penalty area.
“The goals were disappointing, and they tarnished what I thought was a very good second half for us. We are hugely disappointed to have lost the game.”
The defeat means Stoke City dropped to fifth, four points off the automatics.
O’Neill is right to criticise his sides defending as a team pushing for promotion, you have to have higher standards.
To drop all of the points in the final ten minutes is enough to anger any manager, especially when those points come against a side that will be up and around the top six come the end of the season.
As well as that, killing the game off and managing that final ten minutes is essential and something Stoke will have to improve on if they are to finish in the top six this season, let alone the automatics.Internet Explorer Channel Network