Stoke City boss Alex Neil makes ‘tough’ admission ahead of Leeds United clash

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Stoke City boss Alex Neil is well aware of the tough test his side face as they look to make it back-to-back wins.

Stoke City boss Alex Neil has been speaking ahead of his side’s clash with Leeds United on Wednesday night. The Whites make the trip to the Potteries looking to build on a comeback away win over Norwich City that took them up to third place.

Leeds will now be looking to press ahead to reduce the gap to the top three, while Stoke seem to have very different ambitions for this season. The Potters defeated Sunderland last time out to pick up just their fourth win of the season, and they now sit in 12th place, just five points above the bottom three.

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While there is plenty of time to turn things around, Stoke look as though they are in for another relatively quiet season after finishing in 16th place last season.

Though, the Sunderland win will give them fresh confidence, and Neil is well aware of the ‘tough’ test that awaits his side against an in-form Leeds. He said after the win on Saturday: “I am really pleased. We needed the win, irrespective of who we were playing against. The [Sunderland] fans were always going to fire a few shots at me, which is fine and I get it.

“But for our lads, the club and our supporters, we needed a bit of optimism, a good performance and certainly three points under our belt. We’re a team very much in transition and that’s frustrating because the nature of the Championship is you need to win games.

“I think the fans understand where we are as a club; you want your club to win games and you want to be successful and push on up the league. But I think we need to recognise where we currently are and that we do have great potential. Naturally Sunderland piled pressure on at the end and they’re the best games to win when you really need to dig in, so it’s really satisfying.

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“At the end of the day, the proof’s in the pudding and you need to do it on the pitch, but I thought against a really good side, we more than matched them. We’ve got some tough games coming up so today was a good day for us.”

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