O’Neill: No conflict between club and country

EMILIANO SALAH

Michael O’Neill insists he has had no trouble balancing the demands of Stoke and Northern Ireland over the past four months but admits returning to club football has required an adjustment.

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O’Neill was named Stoke boss in early November, but remained in charge of Northern Ireland in order to see out the Euro 2020 qualification process – though the coronavirus now means it is highly unlikely their play-off semi-final against Bosnia & Herzegovina will go ahead as planned on March 26.

That may yet prolong O’Neill’s juggling act, but after eight years in charge of the Green and White Army he says he has the systems in place to make it a smooth process.

“There has not been anything that has the equation of ‘It’s Northern Ireland or Stoke’,” O’Neill said.

“There is nothing that has conflicted, to be honest, and I kind of knew there wouldn’t be because I knew that if I delegated well within the staff, trusted their views and opinions that it was manageable.

“November to March is the quietest part of an international manager’s calendar and that has coincided with the period I’ve been in charge here.

“It wouldn’t be doable if you were doing it September, October and November, that wouldn’t be an option.”

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