Not safe yet O’Neill warns Stoke de­spite cru­cial Birmingham win

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Total Football -

Stoke man­ager Michael O’Neill in­sists his side are not safe yet de­spite their 2-0 win over Birmingham City.

Danny Batth bun­dled home from close range to give Stoke a 12thminute lead and Sam Clu­cas dou­bled the ad­van­tage on the stroke of half-time as the hosts opened up a four-point gap on the rel­e­ga­tion zone. O’Neill said: “We have to get as much as we can out of the final three games, but it’s nice to get to a point where you think an­other re­sult will be enough.”

Birmingham, who sit 18th af­ter a fourth suc­ce­sive league loss, have the same points as Stoke, but worse goal dif­fer­ence. minute’s si­lence for their club’s record ap­pear­ance-maker, they put on a 90-minute dis­play that en­cap­su­lated the great man’s bel­liger­ence and be­lief.

It was not pretty and did not be­gin to re­sem­ble their 5-0 waltz against Stoke City

– but Charl­ton would have ap­proved.

Of course, it was a false­hood when crit­ics ac­cused Charl­ton’s tac­tics of be­ing ex­clu­sively those of the hefty boot and the blind gal­lop, but it can­not be doubted he rev­elled in the roll-up­y­our-sleeves chal­lenge.

Swansea only needed a point to leap above Cardiff City, their near­est and dear­est, into the play-off places and, af­ter per­haps shad­ing the first half, they bed­ded down for that sce­nario in the last quar­ter.

With Bielsa scream­ing “again, again” like a sadist in a den­tist’s chair, Leeds con­tin­u­ously streamed for­ward. Pa­trick Bam­ford will never know how Fred­die Wood­man turned away his div­ing header in the 64th minute, then in the 80th minute Jack Har­ri­son’s ef­fort saw only sky­light.

Her­nan­dez, the for­mer Swansea favourite, was re­spon­si­ble for both chances and it was in­evitable the im­mutable law of the ex would ap­ply when the vis­i­tors fi­nally found a way through.

The 35-year-old has ham­string prob­lems and has yet to start since the re­sump­tion, but the cre­ativ­ity and nous he brought when ap­pear­ing af­ter the break surely iden­ti­fies him as the ideal in­flu­ence to steer these young­sters across the line. When Luke Ayling pulled it back, the savvy Senor was there to side-foot the ball in off a post, and so the en­tire squad and the coaches eu­phor­i­cally joined the mass hud­dle at a cor­ner flag. Well, all but one. “When you score at the end it’s a higher feel­ing,” Bielsa said. “But I can­not en­joy this. The only thing I can en­joy is the last ob­jec­tive – if we get it.”

(4-3-1-2) Wood­man (Mul­der 90+3); Naughton, Ca­bango, Guehi (Celina 90+1), Bid­well (Cullen 90+1); Roberts, Fulton (By­ers 90+1), Grimes; Gal­lagher; Ayew, Brew­ster (Routledge 81). Dyer, Kalulu, Dhanda, Van der Hoorn. Brew­ster, Fulton. (4-4-1-1) Mes­lier; Ayling, White, Cooper, Dal­las (Alioski, h-t); Costa (Shack­le­ton 90+2), Phillips, Klich, Har­ri­son (Beradi 90+5); Roberts (Her­nan­dez h-t); Bam­ford. Mi­azek (g), Dou­glas, Poveda-Ocampo, Stru­ijk, Bo­gusz.

Klich, Har­ri­son, Her­nan­dez.

Keith Stroud (Hamp­shire).

Chloe Mor­gan, the for­mer Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur goal­keeper, has shed fur­ther light on the gulf in re­sources be­tween Pre­mier League clubs and their top-flight fe­male coun­ter­parts, say­ing women play­ers should not feel like “sec­ond­class cit­i­zens” to a men’s team.

Mor­gan left Tot­ten­ham at the be­gin­ning of last month af­ter her con­tract ex­pired and yes­ter­day an­nounced her move to Women’s Cham­pi­onship side Crys­tal Palace.

Last week, the 30-year-old re­vealed her val­ues had “not al­ways aligned” with Tot­ten­ham, a club where she spent six years, but has since spo­ken up about is­sues she pre­vi­ously felt were “dif­fi­cult and con­flict­ing” to ad­dress as a player.

“Things could be bet­ter for the women’s side in terms of equal­ity,” Mor­gan said on the Women’s Foot­ball Show. “I’m ready to stand up and speak out against that.

“That’s with the in­ten­tion of mak­ing things bet­ter for the next gen­er­a­tion of play­ers. I never want a sit­u­a­tion where [mem­bers of] a women’s team feel like they’re sec­ond-class cit­i­zens to a men’s team.”

Speak­ing about her time at Spurs, she added: “In terms of be­ing part of the men’s set-up, there could have been ways in which we could have used the fa­cil­i­ties bet­ter, we could have been in a sit­u­a­tion where we could have met the men’s team a lit­tle bit more of­ten.”

Spurs have re­futed those claims, with a club spokesman say­ing the club re­main “fully com­mit­ted” to

Sting­ing exit: Chloe Mor­gan said she was ready to speak out against in­equal­ity

their “evolv­ing” women’s set-up. “Equal­ity and in­clu­sion is of paramount im­por­tance to us as a club. Our men’s play­ers have shown co­he­sive­ness with our women’s team by at­tend­ing matches in sup­port, en­gag­ing with them on so­cial me­dia and ap­pear­ing along­side them at com­mu­nity events as we recog­nise that our men’s and women’s play­ers pro­vide equal in­spi­ra­tion to young peo­ple within our area.”

Tot­ten­ham split their women’s train­ing across the Hive in Lon­don – which is shared with men’s Na­tional League side Bar­net – and Spurs’s elite train­ing cen­tre.

Where the women’s side train is “based on lo­gis­tics and in com­pli­ance with reg­u­la­tions per­tain­ing to gen­der ap­pro­pri­ate chang­ing ar­eas”, a club spokesman added.

Tot­ten­ham women also have full access to med­i­cal pro­vi­sion at all times, but Mor­gan sug­gested such rudi­men­tary mea­sures were not enough, adding: “There were just things that would go on be­hind the scenes that I just feel need to be ad­dressed. There were in­stances where I def­i­nitely felt the co­he­sion be­tween the two teams could have been a lot bet­ter.”

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