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Alex Neil speaks for first time on being appointed as new Stoke boss after leaving Sunderland

Alex Neil speaks for the first time on being appointed as new Stoke City boss after leaving Sunderland after just six months at the club.

Stoke have announced the appointment of Alex Neil as their manager. The 41-year-old quit Sunderland to take over on a three-year contract and watched the Potters’ Championship win over Blackburn from the stands on Saturday.

Neil took over at Sunderland only in February and led them back into the Championship via the playoffs. Sunderland say they offered him an improved deal despite the fact he signed a new contract weeks ago.

“Alex was our No 1 choice to become our new manager and I’m delighted we have secured his services so quickly,” said Stoke’s joint chairman John Coates. “His managerial pedigree is excellent with three promotions already on his CV and we are looking forward to working closely with him to help him realise the ambitions that he and the club share.”

Interviewer: How does it feel to be here?

AN: Yeah, that’s not delighted to be here. You know, I think that it’s a great opportunity for me, and I think it’s a great opportunity for the club in terms of where we find ourselves instead of over the last few years have been difficult for a variety of reasons, and I think this is hopefully a new start and an opportunity for us.

Interviewer: What attracted you to the club?

AN: I think probably the key factor was probably the ownership. I think widely renowned in the game, has been one of the best owners. I think they give you everything that you need on and off the pitch that you’d require as a manager to succeed. And that really appeals to me because I think any good manager wants to be accountable for, obviously, the decisions that you make in shape of things going forward

Interviewer: Four clubs you’ve managed, you’ve had an immediate impact, three promotions as well in that time. What you put that down to>

AN: I think it’s different for each club. I think each club is probably required different things at different stages. But I think trying worked really hard with the players, trying to improve them collectively and individually. I think bringing clarity to the game in terms of how we’re going to play and really sort of define the rules and make sure they understand exactly what I’m asking. And then, obviously, the motivational side, it’s important that they understand the club, they understand the fans and what it takes to get them on side and make sure they leave everything on the pitch.

Interviewer: As a manager, what are your core principles?

AN: I think hard work is definitely, obviously number one. I think what you want to try and create is a good culture and a good spirit amongst the team. They’ve got to fight for each other. They’ve got to understand that the team is the most important thing. You know, no one individual will ever sort of supersede that, so that’s vital, and everybody’s got to play the part. I think that certainly in the squad that I’ve had previously and every single player was important, albeit it might not be starting the game every single game, but they can can make vital contributions in terms of how certain results look across the season.

Interviewer: You’re in the stands on Saturday for the game at Blackburn Rovers, and I’ve had a couple of training sessions since. What do you make of the squad you’ve inherited?

AN: Yeah, listen, I think it’s highly talented. I think there’s a lot of good players here, but equally, I don’t think we’ve lived up to what we would expect at the club. So I think that’s something we want to try and address, really focus on our goals I see in terms of being as successful as we can and like I say, bringing clarity, a good work ethic, and a real sort of healthy culture at the club. I think all the but you can add them all together, irrespective of where you are. I think that’s a recipe for success.

Interviewer: So every player kind of have a clean slate with you coming in now?

AN: Yeah, I believe so. I think that you’ve watched players playing, so you’ve got an idea of what they look like, but as always, when you come in the building and you start working with people first hand, sometimes there’s a lot of differences in terms of what you expected or what you previously seen. So, yeah, I think in that respect, that the players, I’ve got what we do in terms of it’s up to them for us to sort of show what they can do. We certainly won’t be going off past things because, let’s be honest, in football, what you did last week, last year, the last game, it doesn’t really matter. It’s what you do next that matters. So, yes, I think that counts for result.

Interviewer: Just over 24 hours until the transfer window closes, will you maybe look to dip in there and strengthen the squad?

AN: I think we need to see. Obviously we’ve got certain restrictions at the moment that we’re going to have to work with them. But, yeah. Listen. If we can do something that’s going to enhance the squad and help us and we’ve got a few injuries at the moment. Which makes a short and certain position. So if we can try and alleviate those pressures on certain roles. Then. Yeah. I don’t see why we wouldn’t. But as I said. It’s certainly not going to be easy at this latest stage.

Interviewer: In terms of style, how do you like your teams to play?

AN: I think it really depends on the players. I think what I try and do is come up with a system and a structure that suits the players and then allow them to go and showcase what they can do. But obviously we want to be attacking win the games for goals and then but being defensively solid is important. So I like to have a balance to my team. But winning games. That’s what matters the most. Doesn’t it? And that’s what we’re all in it for, so whatever is required to win the game, that’s how I’ll try and go about the match and make sure we get ourselves in the lads the best chance of performing.

Interviewer: Fouty games left in the season. What do you feel is achievable with this squad?

AN: I think anything is achievable, if I’m honest. I think the championship is wide open just now. I think that it’s been very competitive, a lot of teams have beaten each other across the five or six games that we played so far, and I thought, yeah, I think it was really there for anybody that can pick up a good run, put momentum together, I think they’ve got a good chance of being successful this year.

Interviewer: Your first fixture is at home on Wednesday against Swansea. City. How much are you looking forward to that game?

AN: Yeah, I’m looking forward to it. Unfortunately, we haven’t had a lot of prep time to get the lads ready for the game, but we’ve done about a lot. The smaller and really confident that I think they took it on board and they seemed quite confident in what they’re doing, so hopefully we can show that in the game. I think Swans will be a tough match. They make you tactically understand, obviously, what you’re doing very well, because if you don’t, they can play through you and pick you off. Obviously, I coach Trussel, so I know he’s a deep thinker of the game. I think he’s a very good coach. I think tactically he’s very bright. So, yeah, it’ll be challenging for us, particularly the fact that we haven’t walked together very long. It should be a tough game, but I think the quality we’ve got in the squad, there’s no reason why we can’t set it to 21.

Interviewer: It’s been a tough few years for the supporters here. What is your message.

AN: I think the message, as always, I’ll give it everything I’ve got. You won’t find anybody at work any harder for the team and for the club than I was. And I’ll do everything in my power to make sure that we’re successful this year, next year, and obviously going beyond that. So, yeah, I’m fully dedicated to getting the job done. I think I’ve got a really good team, I think I’ve got a great ownership in terms of me going do what I think need required at the club and I’m looking forward to the challenge.

Interviewer: And finally, what your ambitions during your time here?

AN: Be successful, in one promotion, isn’t it? That’s got to be there’s next year? I’m not quite sure, but, yeah, we need to get a team of the league.

Fans gave their thoughts as Alex Neil speaks for the first time on being appointed as new Stoke boss after leaving Sunderland…

@nathanprince18: 🐀🐀🐀🐀🐀🐀 c*nt

@grant_lee1: 🐍🐍🐍🐍

@DMG7676: 28 thousand reasons every week 🐍🐍

@JLauder91: having digs at the ownership at Sunderland despite being happy to sign improved terms 4 weeks ago. Nee bother ya baldy rat. Roll on March…

@caleb11488: God that face pisses me off

@Callumsafc17: “Fully dedicated to getting the job done”. Aye nice one Alex 🐍

@MarkyOatcake: Bright and up beat, I like what he’s said. I think he’s going to do well at Stoke.

@SAFCNews2022: Canny wait to welcome you to the Stadium of Light in March!!!

@stevenhambo: I like the cut of his jib, everyone’s going to know where they stand with this guy

@tjbrown___: We all thought the same…

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