Stoke city midfielder Stephen Ireland has said that his club are now capable of finishing above Newcastle United in the table after Mark Hughes’ men managed a 1-0 win over Alan Pardew’s team during the weekend. Ireland has been suffering from a couple of injuries in recent weeks. This prevented him from being part of the squad that took on Chelsea and lost 3-0 at Stamford Bridge in the previous weekend. His return to the team proved to be the difference after he contributed immensely and helped Stoke win 1-0
In the previous year’s, teams like Stoke have often been criticised for not performing up to the best in the latter stages of the season since they did not have anything to play for. It could be the case once again because Stoke are not in danger of being relegated and also incapable of qualifying for the Europa league as well. Despite this, Ireland says that his team will not be stepping off the throttle in the last few matches of the season. Stoke are now targeting a ninth place finish – just above Newcastle, whose form has deteriorated quite badly in the last few months.
After just one defeat in the last five matches, Stoke are on an impressive run and are just three points behind Newcastle United.
“We want these last games to mean something and we’re chasing teams down. The manager wants to win every single game from now until the end of the season and he’s not going to let us take our foot off the gas. It was a tough game against Newcastle, we were a bit sloppy and so were they, but we got the goal. We might have had a stroke of luck with that but if any team was going to win the three points it was going to be us,” said Ireland.