Neil took over Stoke last season and after last season’s struggles, this summer he brought in a host of new faces to reshape the squad.


However, Stoke have had a slow start to the season and are 16th in the Championship table with ten points from nine games.




Clarke pointed out that Stoke are the best pressing side in the league and added that only Ipswich Town and Sunderland have conceded fewer goals from open play than the Potters.


He highlighted that Stoke need to be brave and fluent in possession and thinks that it would be harsh to judge Neil’s side too soon as they are a new team.



“In terms of numbers, they are the best pressing side in the Championship, are so hard to play against and they close down and make life awkward”, Clarke said on the What The EFL podcast.


“Yes, they are very low on passes per defensive action and in open play, only two teams have conceded fewer goals than Stoke, which is a big surprise when you look at their league position, Ipswich and Sunderland are the only teams in open play that are letting in fewer goals.



“So without the ball, there is something there; they just need to be a bit braver and play with a bit more fluency in possession.


“But it is a new team.


“It is almost harsh; even if Neil has been there a while, it is harsh to judge them too much at the moment because it is effectively a brand new team that are finding their own way.”


Stoke ended their five-match winless streak against Bristol City at the weekend and they are now set to face Southampton tonight.