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Michael O'Neill pleased with Stoke's "resilience" in Blackburn draw

Nick Powell gave the Potters the lead but John Buckley's goal ensured the game finished 1-1.

Stoke manager Michael O'Neill felt it was a case of a point gained after his side held on for a 1-1 draw at Blackburn despite finishing the game with 10 men.

Nick Powell's header – his sixth goal this season and second against Blackburn – put Stoke ahead just before half-time and they bossed proceedings for large portions thereafter, but even though they struck a post and forced Thomas Kaminski into an outstanding save, they could not get the killer second and were made to pay 14 minutes from time through John Buckley's tap-in.

The Potters were reduced to 10 men when skipper James Chester halted Adam Armstrong's surge clear of the Stoke defence but they held on and minimised the chances Blackburn created.

Stoke are four points from sixth place after stretching their recent record to one win in seven in the league. But their unbeaten run on the road is now seven and O'Neill was pleased with his side's performance and character.

He said: "There's a sense of disappointment because we were so dominant but when the game turns on its head, it's important you take something from it so I think we showed good character to do that because it would have been easy not to be able to show that resilience to take something from the game. The important thing for me was the level of performance was good. We freshened the team up, brought some young players in on loan. They helped us.

"We're constantly trying to evolve the team and I felt for 70 minutes we showed that. We looked a very good team. We just have to continue to work and improve. We want to continue to push and challenge to be in the play-off, and today when we look back, we'd probably say it was a point gained.

"Having been so dominant, it would have been harsh on us not to take something from the game."

Blackburn are further away from the play-offs after conceding first for the fourth successive Ewood Park encounter in all competitions. Tony Mowbray felt his side's intensity was not at its usual level.

He said: "We're disappointed with the nature of the goal we lost, of course. Their biggest threat came from set plays all day.

"We didn't look like we could score for 70 minutes. I thought we needed more energy in the team. That's the balance I've talked about of (Bradley) Dack and (Lewis) Travis coming back from long-term injuries.

"It's a call we have to make of whether we're going to get them fit by playing games or leave them out and they get 20 minutes, half an hour. I thought the team was off its intensity levels that we normally play at.

"And yet we played against a decent side with very experienced footballers who have played at the top level. We huffed and puffed, got a goal, ended up playing the last 15 minutes against 10 men which didn't necessarily help us, I don't think, other than it took their threat of trying to score a goal away.

"But we didn't really look like we were going to get a winner. We had plenty of stuff around the edge of their box without peppering their goal. I think that's their experience."

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Swansea City manager Steve Cooper pictured on January 9, 2021
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