Play Our Game, Forget Stoke
Roy Hodgson has said the players must focus on their own game and performance and not think about Stoke's physical strengths or how they can hurt us as they prepare for Monday's game.
Speaking to wba.co.uk Roy has insisted that the team forget about Stoke now, and remain focused and disciplined in our game plan and how we can hurt them, as he's confident their strengths have already been dealt with.
'We have made preparations for the way Stoke play, every week you come up against a team which has a slightly different focus to its play. At the start of the week you begin to prepare your team around that focus - it's important we do things right and we don't change our game to suit the opposition.'
One of Stoke's biggest threats are obviously Rory Delap's long throws, and whilst Roy talks with a bit of detail about that in the interview, he assures fans that the players are more than aware that Stoke aren't a one trick pony when it comes to their strengths, and that sitting back simply isn't an option.
'There's a lot more to Stoke's game than just their long throw ins, their game is more mixed than that. We've got to be prepared for that and, most importantly, ask a few questions of them because sitting back and just trying to survive the onslaught is a very dangerous tactic.'
If we are at our best we should be able to keep it tight at the back, but Roy is right, we can't try and defend the box for 90 minutes, we will have to use our pace and create as many chances as possible - not only to give the defence a break, but the best shot we've got of getting anything from the game will be by restricting Stoke to long range efforts and putting them under as much pressure as we can.
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