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Michael O’Neill believes Stoke failed to hit their heights despite beating Hull

Huddersfield Town v Stoke City – Sky Bet Championship – The John Smith’s Stadium
(Image credit: Richard Sellers)

Stoke boss Michael O’Neill felt his side failed to hit their heights in their 2-0 win at home to Hull.

Lewie Coyle hit the post as Hull enjoyed a good opening 15 minutes.

Mario Vrancic put Stoke ahead after he turned two defenders before firing into the roof of the net on 35 minutes.

Nick Powell doubled City’s advantage on 58 minutes after he curled home a 35-yard free-kick.

“I am very pleased with the result,” he said “There were aspects of the performance that were good and aspects that we have to look at.

“I have to give credit to Hull, they pressed us well and we didn’t build our game as well as we have done this season.

“We looked lethargic at times in the first half and we needed a spark. We got that with the goal.

“I thought the 20 minutes after half-time we looked more like ourselves. I felt we didn’t really show our true self as we could have done.

“The demands on the players are extremely high and the games are demanding.

“There is a lot for the players to deal with and you will get games where you are a bit flat.

“The most important thing when you have days like that is that you have the individual quality to win the game.

“Our home form gives us a platform to maintain, and hopefully improve, our league form.

“Our home form has been difficult in the Championship at times and we want to be a formidable team at home.

“Mario Vrancic is a brilliant player, we have seen that already.

“We have to work hard to get Mario in the game and we struggled a bit to do that today.

“If we can get him in the game as much as possible he will make things happen, particularly in the final third.”

Hull boss Grant McCann felt it was another important learning experience as his side adjust to their new level.

“From the outside looking in, it is another defeat where we aren’t creating chances, but that is not just the front three, it is the team as a whole,” he said.

“We were not clinical enough, but up until their goal what we were doing was really good.

“We had a chance with Tyler Smith and we hit the post. Then we made a decision to jump and press the ball and they are breaking against us and score.

“We started the second half well but it was backs against the wall once they scored the second.

“We are in a different division and there are top quality players in this league week in week out who will punish you.

“There are things we have to control like not giving away soft free-kicks. It is another frustrating day for us.

“It is a big jump from League One to Championship and we are still learning and adjusting. We believe in the group and we believe things will turn.

“We have got a good changing room that is giving us everything. We have to take our chances in the key moments.

“It would have been a different game if we had turned the early pressure into a goal. That is the danger you face when you come to a place like this.”