‘We didn’t half give them a helping hand’ - Stoke boss on classy Canaries

Stoke City manager Michael O'Neill admitted Norwich City were too good for the Potters in a 4-1 Championship defeat

Stoke City manager Michael O'Neill admitted Norwich City were too good for the Potters in a 4-1 Championship defeat - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City remain the gold standard in the Championship for Stoke City boss Michael O’Neill after a 4-1 defeat. 

O’Neill felt his own side’s shortcomings were ruthlessly exploited by the Canaries at Carrow Road. 

"We came here believing we could take something from the game but saw what the level required is at the top end of the league," said O'Neill. “For too long we have possibly said we've done well in games and not taken what we felt we've deserved. 

"We got what we deserved. We certainly didn't deserve to take anything from the game. We gave a good team a helping hand. 

“Norwich have a lot of attacking quality and (Teemu) Pukki's movement is as good as anything in the league, a lot of good players, but we didn't half give them a helping hand today. We struggled to deal with that. 

"That's the level of the league. This is a team at the top end that we have to deal with and at times we weren't able to do that." 

Stoke’s play-off bid has stalled after no wins in nine ahead of a midweek test against Sheffield Wednesday. 

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"We have to get back to winning games. We're on a bad run, a difficult run where we are being tested,” said the former Northern Irish boss. “We've got to address that and try to win the game on Tuesday. We had good chances in both halves to add to the one goal we got. We didn't capitalize on that. In the first half we had Steven (Fletcher's) goal and John Obi (Mikel) had a great chance. 

"We had one or two other opportunities that we should have done better on as well. 

"The chance just after half-time was key because it would have made it 2-1, we don't take it. 

"I think those are the key moments. We weren't clinical when we had the chance to do so and when we were weak defensively we were punished. 

"You never like to lose a game but I thought - while the scoreline wasn't harsh because we gave away opportunities, didn't defend well enough and got punished - we had good chances in the game. 

"It could quite easily have been 2-2 before the third goal was scored, but we missed chances and against this level of team you get punished.” 

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