Stoke City boss calls for killer instinct ahead of Canaries’ test
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Stoke City chief Nathan Jones is already planning for next season - with a master marksman top of his wishlist.
Norwich City’s Championship top scorer, Teemu Pukki, has five more goals than Stoke’s entire team output at home in the league this season, and it was another tale of woe in a 1-0 away defeat at Middlesbrough on Good Friday.
“We didn’t have a ruthless streak, somebody to take the chances. That’s what we will bring into the club - a ruthless streak and energy,” said Jones, who replaced Gary Rowett in January.
“But the 11 out there I cannot fault. The level of performance was good, it’s just the cutting edge.
“I’d be quite happy to pick the same 11 (against Norwich) for the level of performance out there.
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“We are just lacking goals, and I can promise you we are working religiously on it. We have spent a lot of money on attacking players, so I expect a little bit more, I really do.”
Stoke have failed miserably to get in the promotion mix, following relegation from the Premier League, and that was summed up by failing to break down a stubborn Boro.
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“It’s symptomatic of what we’ve been like,” he said. “Apart from one lapse of concentration, we weren’t under pressure for 90 minutes. We dominated possession and got into the final third pretty much when we wanted.
“You can’t fault the work-rate and the desire, but we worked on coming out quick and we lost a goal after two minutes. We should have won the game comfortably, because we had enough possession and enough chances, but only one shot on target. We were the better side all over, but that’s probably why we are in the position we are and why they are in the position they are (in the top six).”
Jack Butland is poised to return after missing the defeat on Teesside to attend the birth of his child. Defensive duo Ryan Shawcross and Bruno Martins Indi will be late fitness calls.