McClean is clinical
JAMES McCLEAN’S strike won a poor game and put Stoke on the verge of the Championship play-off places.
But The Potters are going to have to be a lot better than this against Watford and Reading in their next two games to try to establish themselves in the promotion race.
Stoke boss Michael O’Neill said: “McClean wasn’t in great form at the start of the season and then the timing of the international break didn’t help him either.
“But since coming back into the team he has done well.
“It was a cool finish and he’s hitting his stride now.”
O’Neill has taken The Potters a long way since he arrived a year ago with Stoke at the bottom of the table.
He has fashioned a hard-to-beat team that was too good for Rotherham to crack.
“I might come across as a bit of a wally, but I think we will be alright,”said defiant Rotherham boss Paul Warne. “To be disappointed to lose at a place like Stoke shows how far we have come.
“It was a poor goal to give away, route one, a freak. I think we should be six or seven points better off than we are, so I do think we have enough to stay up, yes.”
There was nothing complicated about the way Stoke won it in the
27th minute with McClean’s second goal in three games.
Keeper Angus Gunn hoofed the ball upfield, Steven Fletcher got a headed touch on it, and McClean (above) lobbed keeper Jamal Blackman.
STOKE CITY: Gunn 6; Souttar 7, Batth 7,Fox 6; Smith 6, Mikel 7, Thompson 6 (Cousins 5, 77) McClean 8; Campbell 6 (Brown 77), Fletcher 7, Powell 6 (Oakley-Boothe 89).
Unused Subs: Nna Noukey, Lindsay, Ince, Vokes. ROTHERHAM UTD: Blackman 6; Harding 6, Ihiekwe 7, A. MacDonald 7, Mattock 6; Jozefzoon 7 ,S,MacDonald 6 (Crooks 60, 5), Barlaser 6, Lindsay 6 (Smith 60), Miller 7; Ladapo 7 (Hirst 70, 5). Unused Subs: Johansson, Wood, Wiles, Sadlier.
MAN OF THE MATCH: James McClean. Grateful for the goal he got in boring game.
REFEREE: Darren Bond 7.