EDWARDS CAN’T WAIT TO BE PART OF FRESH STYLE
TOM Edwards realises the weight that Nathan Jones places on full-backs – but also knows his Stoke City side need to defend a lot better than they did at Brentford.
A sell-out away end at Griffin Park had arrived with optimism after the club brought in a new manager in Nathan Jones who boasts one of the best winning and attacking ratios in English football over the last three years.
But there smiles didn’t last long and a 3-1 defeat leaves Stoke in the bottom half of the Championship and eight points off the play-off places.
“It was tough,” said Edwards. “We wanted to start better than that, but we’ve only had a few days with the new gaffer and things are going to take a bit of time.
“We worked hard and tried our best, but we just didn’t perform to the levels we needed. We’re going to keep going. We’ve got a few more days with the gaffer now to work things through.”
He added: “Whatever the system, we have to be better in our defending.
“We will look back on it and we’re going to go over the game and work out what we should have done better and make sure that any mistakes don’t happen again.”
Jones immediately started to use a diamond formation which has brought him a lot of joy at Luton Town, where right and left-backs were tasked with getting up and down the field and being a main supply of chances.
Edwards said: “He’s already told us that he puts an emphasis on full-backs, that we are a big part of his plan.
“Obviously it’s a narrow diamond so we need to provide the width and to take the ball forward. It was difficult at Brentford, who were pressing us hard and we didn’t have any options.”
And despite the debut defeat, the manager has made a positive first impression on his new squad.
“I’ve loved it,” said Edwards. “The atmosphere he has brought in and the way he has been with the players and all the staff has been first class.
“He’s taken his time to get to know everyone around the club and everyone respects him. We’re looking forward to working under him.”
It was the fourth of four sell-out followings for Stoke over Christmas and the new year – which have only mustered two goals and two draws. And that backing has not gone unnoticed from the players.
“They are always quality,” said Edwards. “We knew they were going to be right behind us and give us the best support.
“We have to make sure that we get to our best as quickly as possible. We don’t have the time to lose or draw too many games. We need to get a winning streak going and to climb the table as quickly as possible.”
NEW CHALLENGE: Tom Edwards says he’s looking forward to the Nathan Jones era