As Stoke City continue to ramp up team activities ahead of December 10th’s return to play, Stoke manager Alex Neil spoke to the team’s website — Neil went into a wide variety of topics, including how the clubs recent trip to Dubai went:
"“It went well. We had a good sort of trip, in terms of getting work in with the lads.”"
A big focal point for Stoke City coming out of the break, is to be more consistent in attack and out of possession — Which is something Neil said the team worked on with their recent training camp, addressing some of their recent struggles:
"“Both ends of the pitch really. How we can try to make ourselves more defensively solid and how we can try and create more goals. We’ve done a lot of work. The lads have put a lot of effort in. So we’re very hopeful we’ll be in good form when we get back.”"
Along with working on some of their key areas in attack and defense the club has struggled with, the team’s trip to Dubai according to Neil also had two advantages:
"“I think it’s been a good opportunity for two things. I think 11 or 12 of these players came in, in the Summer. So this isn’t a group that hasn’t been together for a long period of time…As well as getting key players back who have missed a number of games for us.”’"
Jonathan Gould Added To Coaching Staff, Harry Souttar’s World Cup Run, and Friday’s Friendly
Stoke City on Thursday announced that Jonathan Gould will be taking over as the team’s goalkeeping coach. Alex Neil on Thursday talked about the move and some of why The Potters chose Gould:
"“…I think he’s going to add real good understanding, experience at [this] level. And he’ll certainly help the goalkeepers as a group.”"
Another hot topic around the Potteries is Harry Souttar’s stellar play for Australia at the World Cup. Souttar, who only played in one match for Stoke City before heading out on national team duty, will surely be a welcomed sight in the second half of the season for Neil.
Alex Neil on Thursday weighed in about the process of getting Souttar ready for the World Cup and on Souttar’s play for Australia so far:
"“I’ve been really pleased with Harry’s plan, shall we say. Obviously we aimed to get him back involved in at least one of the games before he left which he helped us win…As we’ve all seen he’s performed really well…”"
Stoke City’s final preparation for December 10th gets even more ramped up on Friday as the club takes on Nottingham Forest in a friendly. Neil wrapped up his brief media session with the team talking about what he wants to see from the team on Friday:
"“Make sure we’re defensively solid. Make sure we’re nice and creative and we can create opportunities. And just make sure it’s a worthwhile exercise.”"
After Friday, Stoke City will be full speed ahead to their match against Cardiff City next Saturday. It’ll be key for The Potters to get off to a good start in the second half of their season.