Sky Sports unique: Stoke duo Danny Batth and Sam Vokes focus on a troublesome begin to the season, working with Michael O’Neill and a lot, rather more
Last Updated: 19/05/20 11:51am
Danny Batth and Sam Vokes mentioned a variety of matters as Sky Sports joined the Stoke duo at home.
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On recovering from a troublesome begin to the season…
Batth: “The membership signed 14 gamers in the summertime – that is excluding myself and Sam, who arrived final January – and that is mainly an entire new squad so it did simply take that further little bit of time for us to gel. When the strain is on and you might be anticipated to be promoted, I feel that basically takes its toll as a result of you do not have the time and the construction inside the group to get outcomes early on and choose that momentum up and everyone knows how necessary that’s.
“Michael has looked at the players he has at his disposal and we’re now playing a style of football that brings out the best in players individually as well as collectively. We’ve got players who have strengths in different positions but he allows everyone the chance to show their best abilities and that’s shown – in the last game against Hull, we were free-scoring and played an open game. That’s what the Stoke fans want to see and that’s how I want to play.”
Vokes: “It felt like we had been handing over a special path and so much modified when Michael O’Neill took over. It’s been well-documented that we had a sluggish begin to the season, particularly for the squad we had, and we did not carry out to our capabilities. It was a tricky job to get that first win and it did not come till October. When Michael got here in, it modified so much and we began to play to our strengths, which confirmed in our performances and additionally the outcomes that began to return.
“As players and as a squad you can’t take anything for granted, especially in the Championship, but from the outside noise and people around the club, promotion was mentioned a lot and I think that was the expectation. As much as you may have that within yourself, I don’t think you can talk about that going into the season. Later in the season, we’ve dealt with that a lot better and, looking at our statistics since December time, we’re right up there.”
On Michael O’Neill balancing the Stoke and Northern Ireland jobs…
Batth: “To be trustworthy, you would not know that he was nonetheless managing Northern Ireland as effectively as a result of the one time that he actually wasn’t actually on the coaching floor was in the course of the worldwide break, throughout which a good few gamers nonetheless go away.
“He was very much committed to doing the day-to-day work at Stoke and joined back up with the Northern Ireland team and their plans during that time. He must’ve had a good squad of players there and a team who he trusted to go and watch them week in, week out.”
Vokes: “This situation has changed things because I’m sure he wanted to complete his duties this summer with Northern Ireland but with him committing to Stoke now, it’s focused his attention on us. It’s great for us because it means we can get more time on the training field working with him.”
On studying from previous experiences of promotion and relegation…
Batth: “I was fortunate enough that I was a young lad coming through so I was watching from the outside, really. I think I played 10 games in the Championship season that resulted in relegation but at that point I was just watching everything, learning how the pros dealt with it.
“I suppose that gave me a chance to know one of the best route out of the state of affairs at first of the season and it was clear that we simply needed to maintain working exhausting, maintain everybody collectively and, most significantly, dig out outcomes. That’s what we have needed to do at Stoke and it is all been based mostly on the foundations: being strong on the again, a pacy, dynamic assault. That’s given us a foothold within the league and hopefully we are able to construct on that.”
Vokes: “It’s not just on the pitch; I think there has to be a togetherness in the dressing room and I feel like we’ve got that at Stoke. Since myself and Danny came in I think there has been that transition period, everything has knitted together in the last six months and there’s a close group of team-mates and friends. That’s what’s important in building a promotion campaign. We know we had the sticky start to this season but, going forward, there’s nothing to say we can’t compete at the other end of the table next season.”