Stoke City have been knocked out of the FA Cup after coming up against a strong Leicester side who have set their sights on competing for the trophy.
Michael O’Neill gave his verdict after full-time.
Stoke ran into a top side in Leicester?
Michael O’Neill: We did, particularly in the second half. The key was not to go behind in the game really. The first 20, 25 minutes we did quite well. We had a good chance which we didn’t take, then it was a good individual goal.
In the second half I thought we did well again but unfortunately the second goal kills us really. We had to change the shape, we were a bit more vulnerable to their quality and they showed that.
Leicester played a near full strength team?
I didn’t expect Brendan to come and play anything other than that to be honest. Even without Maddison and Vardy they have quality. Perez was excellent today, Tielemans was brilliant as well.
Certainly for some of our younger players it was an indication of where the top end of the Premier League is. Once we went behind it was going to be very, very difficult and a team of that quality and Leicester certainly demonstrated that.
Will confidence be affected by that second half?
I don’t think it will affect their confidence in the Championship at all. We recognise the quality we played against.
We now have 23 league games left and we can fight to finish in the top six in the Championship.
We’re not in a great position at the moment with injuries, particularly at the top end of the pitch, and we’re going to need to address that in the second half of the season.
What is the latest with Alfie Doughty?
We’ve made a bid for Alfie Doughty. Obviously there are other teams interested as well.
We’ll speak to the player. We tried to bring him in during the summer, it wasn’t possible for us to get a deal done at that point in time.
We’ll have to wait now and see. The decision rests with the player at this minute in time.
He’s a young player who we’d like to bring in and we’ll look at other opportunities that may or mau not exist in this transfer window as well.
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Left to rue that chance not taken by Sam Vokes just before Leicester scored first?
Sam’s close to the goal and the keeper is close to him as well but it was a good opportunity in the game and we needed to take something like that to have a chance of progression,” said O’Neill.
We didn’t take it and they scored a great individual goal soon after. From then, the game was always going to be difficult for us.
I thought in the second half we started brightly but we lost the second goal at a bad time and it was always going to be a long way back for us.