Michael O’Neill spoke to the media after yesterday’s 2-0 win over Cardiff. Here is his press conference in full.
You must be pleased with the result?
Michael O’Neill: We’re delighted with the win, the three points and I think today in this performance we showed a lot of resilience. I think that’s something that has been questioned this season on a number of occasions.
It was very good to show that today against a team that was always going to test you. We had to deal with a lot of balls into the box and direct play, which I thought we dealt with well..
We created some good chances as well ourselves at times.
There are aspects where we will look back on the game and think we could have been a little bit better but the nature of the game made it difficult to get real control.
I felt that we were never under any real great threat and looked a threat ourselves.
What was the thinking behind Jordan Thompson shifting to a holding midfield role?
Well, that’s his more natural position.
The reason we played him on the wing last week because he was left footed and we didn’t have that many options with James and Thibaud both injured.
Really last week we tried to play him narrow in a four with Nick Powell just in front.
Today we changed the shape of the midfield to a one and a two and we felt we’d give Joe and Sam a little bit more freedom getting forward.
Nick gave us a shift out on the left in terms of playing narrow and I think he did very well for us.
That’s what we need – players that will put the team ahead of themselves, maybe not in their most favoured position.
Jordan is a young player. We knew that if we could get him on the ball because he can pass it for us and he’s important to have in the team too because his delivery from set plays is good and that’s an important part of the game.
It was a good game by Jordan and I thought Nick Powell was very good as well.
Keeping the same XI from the QPR defeat – you must have had faith in these players?
I think you need a settled side.
You’re not always going to get brilliant performances in the Championship. The demand on the players is so much.. To get belief and confidence into the team you have to be consistent in your selection. That’s what we’ve tried to do.
I actually felt we changed the team but it wasn’t, we just changed the shape a little bit!
Also, people have to push to get in the team. People have to do enough to get in the team as well. That’s a big part of it.
Overall, while we were disappointed with the two defeats prior to this game, there were a lot of things we could have been positive about as well.
You can look at the goals we lost at QPR and make changes but I thought Danny Batth and James Chester were excellent today.
Jack had a really good game. It’s difficult so when your goalkeeper is going to come and take things, claim throws and corner kicks, it takes a lot of pressure off the back four.
But Stoke are still in a precarious position?
It’s a big win but we’ve been in a precarious position since I came in. We’ve not had a game when we’ve gone in looking forward to it and we could relax.
We are coming from being bottom of the league and a big distance down from some of the teams.
We hope we can come to a position where we can look forward to a Saturday afternoon and enjoy the game in some aspect! We’re not in that position at this minute in time.
What we have been, in the time I’ve been in, is that we win and we lose. We’ve not had many draws – two I think.
Ultimately we’re in a much better position than when we took over but we’re not going to get out of this situation. We didn’t expect to be five or six points ahead of where we are now, that would have taken an amazing run of form.
Equally, from a cosmetic point of view the league table looks better but we’re well aware of the fact that we’re only three points above Wigan, who are on a great run of form themselves.
And we’re dragging more and more teams into it all the time, which is good.