Is this one good reason why Stoke City manager is succeeding where Nathan Jones failed?



Speaking on TV on Saturday night, Nathan Jones admitted he had learned much from his mistakes at Stoke City.

The cynics would say that’s a lot of learning, but other more fair-minded observers might say he will have learned from Michael O’Neill’s greater man-management.

Jones frequently made multiple changes after a bad result and presumably put plenty of noses out of joint in the process.

By the end of his time, only Sam Clucas among his senior players hadn’t been left out at one time or another.

O’Neill, in contrast, has tried to resist too many changes at virtually every turn during his four months in charge.

He could have thrown plenty under the bus on Saturday in response to events at QPR seven days earlier, but chose to go with exactly the same starting 11, albeit with a tweak in positions.

His experience has taught him that the trust and loyalty of his players is paramount, particularly in Stoke’s predicament, and there can’t be many, if any, who don’t want to play for him and pay back his trust and loyalty to them.

Retaining players, rather than ditching them at almost the first opportunity, doesn’t do any harm to their confidence either.

His loyalty and trust alone may not be enough to save Stoke, only time will tell, but it doesn’t half give them a better chance than a dressing room full of players with doubts about themselves… and doubts about their manager.





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