Michael O’Neill should have been beaming after guiding Stoke City to a brilliant win over Hull – but a serious injury to Joe Allen put a dent on the day.
He held a press conference at full-time to look back on the events of the day.
What’s the latest on Joe Allen?
Michael O’Neill: I’m devastated for Joe.
Obviously it’s a huge blow for us to lose Joe and a huge blow for what he had to look forward to in the summer as well with Wales, so I’m devastated for him.
We’re obviously delighted with the result but it takes the edge off it when that situation occurs.
It’s not easy for him. Our thoughts go with him and obviously the club will do everything to look after him and make sure he’s back as soon as possible.
What did you make of overall performance?
MON: The performance was very good. We got the performance we had asked for from the players.
We said it was really important we played on the front foot today. We knew Hull were coming into this game on the back of a difficult run of form for them so it’s important you impose yourself over the opposition. I thought we did that right from the word go.
We had chances before we scored, scored three good goals, could have scored more before half-time.
Second half I think possibly the situation with Joe… the players were aware of that. It was nice to add to the three goals but I’m a little bit disappointed to concede. It would have been nice to keep the clean sheet.
It was a great day’s work for us but obviously the injury takes a bit of shine off it.
Good to spread the goals around the team?
MON: Very good. Sam Clucas has 10 goals from midfield now and showed again what a top class player he is. Different types of finishes. He’s been terrific for me, Sam, since I came in.
Powell as well again showed what he is about, again playing slightly out of position.
To do that and be as dangerous as he is shows what a quality player Nick is and his intelligence as well to play and develop in that role.
We’re getting a lot out of the group, a lot out of the players.
Tom Ince was very good, Jordan Thompson very good as well, the back four… no complaints about anyone to be honest.
Other than the situation with Joe it was a perfect day for us and that certainly takes a bit of the gloss off everything.
Pleased to see Tashan Oakley-Boothe set up goal on his debut?
MON: It’s good for Tashan coming in. It’s a nice situation to come in and play your first game in the Football League when you’re three up.
He has to adapt, I think, to the Championship and the hurly burly nature of it but he had a lovely piece of play just before the goal he set up – then showed his quality in setting up the fifth goal.
He’s a young player that we’ve brought to the club. We’ve brought him here based on the fact he’s got real potential and he’s got great running power as well. I think we saw that in those two instances.
It was a good start for him.