Michael O’Neill has revealed for the first time that he’s finding it a delicate balancing act between his home life and his professional life – and Stoke City must take priority at the moment.
O’Neill’s family remains in Scotland and the separation hasn’t been easy since taking over at Stoke in early November, but he insists it’s a pressure he can live with and which will subside once the club is safe.
The Stoke boss, who takes his side to Blackburn tomorrow night (7.45pm) looking for successive wins, says: “I spend a lot of time at the training ground with the staff. We do long hours and we knew that was the situation when we came in.
“It is nice to get back (home). The wife and the kids come down now and again, but it has been challenging at times.
“My family knew when I came down here that my focus was on trying to get Stoke City to survive in the Championship.
“It is a totally different routine from what I was doing previously working as an international manager, but it’s a challenge I’ve enjoyed.
“I’d like to be a little bit further up the table and I’d like to come into a game slightly more relaxed than we have been because since we’ve come in every game has had something massive on it.
“Nineteen games, trying to get the team away from the bottom of the league, where we inherited the team, so that comes with stress and pressure, but equally I’d like to think we have made some progress.
“And we have to continue with that progress between now and the end of the season.
“What we want to do is build the club and a team going forward that are not looking at surviving in the Championship, but are pushing to get out of the Championship.
“Hopefully, when we get into that situation, a little of the stresses and strains of where we are now can disappear.”