Manager reflects on narrow loss on Teesside...
NATHAN JONES felt his Stoke City side deserved more from this afternoon’s Good Friday clash against play-off chasing Middlesbrough.
Britt Assombalonga’s goal inside the opening 180 seconds proved to be the decisive moment as Tony Pulis’ side picked all three points.
That was despite the Potters being the dominant force for the next 88 minutes, creating a number of opportunities against the Teesside outfit on their own turf.
Benik Afobe arguably had the best two chance either side of the break, heading narrowly wide on both occasions, while City also had a penalty appeal turned down after Sam Clucas appeared to be fouled inside the box.
Jones felt his side were the better side throughout the contest at the Riverside Stadium, but was left to rue that early goal and a failure from his side to apply a clinical touch inside the opposition box.
“I’m disappointed not to have come away with at least a point this afternoon, but it’s a bit systematic at the minute of how we have been,” the Welshman expressed.
“Apart from one lapse in concentration at the start of the game I don’t think we were under pressure for 90 minutes.
“I thought we dominated possession and the game. We got into the final third pretty much every time we attacked really and it was just a final ball, bit of quality or cutting edge that we lacked.
“In terms of everything else I can’t fault them, I really can’t. They had a real desire and work-rate to do well.
“We should have won the game comfortably. We have had enough possession and chances. We’ve had 14 shots, but only one on target and that’s the thing at the moment. How many set-pieces did we have, how many corners did we have?!
“We were the better side all over today but with us just unable to convert our chances that is the reason why we are in the position we are, and they are in the position they are.
“We just need to be a bit more ruthless in front of goal which we are not quite at the moment.”
On those appeals for penalty, when Clucas appeared to fouled by John Obi Mikel, Jones added: “Sam has made a good run and got behind his man and had his ankles clipped inside the box.
“The referee saw it differently to how I did but again even without a penalty we had enough chances today. If we just do our job then we win the game comfortably.”