O’Neill inherited a club which was licking its wounds after three painful years when he replaced Nathan Jones in November, rock bottom of the Championship, low on confidence and in real danger of dropping into League One.
He has transformed the form to pull Stoke out of the relegation zone with nine games still hopefully to be played this season.
And he is enjoying the responsibility being trusted in him from the board.
“That’s a big thing about it – the level of control, and backing yourself to be able to change it,” he said in the At Home podcast with Colin Murray.
“There is a common thread between my three jobs (Shamrock Rovers, Northern Ireland and Stoke), the three situations, and believing that you can do it. People always say you don’t get jobs when the team is doing extremely well and that’s probably been the case.
“I perhaps underestimated a little bit how Stoke had been affected by relegation, spent a lot of money, didn’t challenge to get promoted and then were in a difficult place at the bottom of the league when I took over.
“I didn’t realise maybe things were as bad as I thought and perhaps underestimated how difficult it is to win games in the Championship as well. I thought you could go in and win eight out of 10 games. That’s very difficult! The norm is to perhaps win five out of 10 and that’s perceived as good form. There are inconsistencies within the league and how the teams are.
“It’s a massive challenge but I believe I am capable of improving what the current situation is at the club.
“In the long-term – there would obviously be a huge satisfaction in taking the club back to the Premier League – but the immediate future is about fixing what’s wrong at this minute in time. The experiences I’ve been through, I think, will help me do that.”