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Neil admits failings after Stoke slump to fourth successive defeat

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 9 Dec 2023

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Alex Neil admits he is “letting down” Stoke owner John Coates after substitute Anthony Musaba’s stoppage-time winner for revitalised Sheffield Wednesday heaped more pressure on City’s beleaguered boss.

Musaba’s 91st-minute goal lifted the Owls off the foot of the Championship table and inflicted a fourth successive defeat on Neil’s side.

Ryan Mmaee also saw a second-half penalty saved by Cameron Dawson as the Owls gained a first away win of the campaign, making it seven points from a possible nine.

Furious Stoke supporters chanted ‘sacked in the morning’ as Wednesday followers hailed the latest achievement of German manager Danny Rohl.

“John has been nothing but supportive to me since I have been here,” said Neil. “He is one of the best owners in the game.

“I feel at the moment I have let John down and that is probably the sorest thing for me. I came here to do well but ultimately of late we have not won enough games.

“I need to take my medicine and get on with it. I can assure everyone I am doing my best and utmost to make the right decisions.

“I feel at the moment every decision I am making is going the wrong way. When people describe things as a lonely place being a manager, this probably epitomised it.

“But everything is salvageable. We are not even at Christmas yet,” added Neill who reiterated his midweek declaration he would rather die than quit.

However, he added: “This is my hardest job to this point. But it makes me more determined to double down and try to see it through. Ultimately, that is not going to be my decision.”

Neil admitted Dawson’s spot-kick save was the turning point of a largely disappointing game between two teams at the wrong end of the second tier.

“We didn’t take the opportunity and somehow we managed to throw the game away and lose it. That has been a common theme far too often.”

Wednesday are now unbeaten in three and Rohl smiled: “It is fantastic at the moment but there is a long way to go.

“It was a tough one to get something here. But I told my players we had firstly to stay in the game and then there will be the right time to be more offensive and attack them more.

“We had a fantastic moment and it (the penalty save) was a key moment for us.

“In the past it hasn’t always been easy for Cameron. He has had some negative voices against him but he saved a point against Leicester and was the hero of the key moment.”

Rohl also had praise for match-winner Musaba.

He said: “I always believe in my players. He has missed some chances in the past but he was the guy who decided the game.

“It is always disappointing for players when they are not in the starting XI. But I told them to be ready Everyone is understanding what it means to be part of a team. It is not a one-man show. We believe in what we are doing.”

Victory lifted Wednesday off the foot of the table and Rohl added: “It is a small step but it is a huge step also and our confidence is growing more and more,.”

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