In the first of two exclusive Masterclasses with The Coaches’ Voice, Michael O’Neill relives his Stoke side’s away victory over Mark Warburton’s QPR in December 2021.
QPR went into the match challenging for third position and having scored at least one goal in each of their previous 31 Championship fixtures, while O’Neill’s team had succumbed to successive defeats in their last two matches. The Stoke boss reveals how he adapted his tactics for a game in which he knew his side would have less possession. He explains his plan to stifle the threat posed for the hosts by creative outlets Ilias Chair and Chris Willock, and outlines how he used Mario Vrančić and Romaine Sawyers to unlock his own team’s attack in transition.
Ultimately, O’Neill’s team won 2-0 despite having only 35 per cent possession. As such, this Masterclass gives a fascinating insight into employing a counter-attacking game plan against strong opposition.