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Furious Alex Neil issues Stoke City rallying cry after home

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Stoke City suffered their worst home defeat in five years as they were beaten 4-0 by Watford

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Furious Alex Neil has issued a rallying call to his Stoke City players about how they respond to adversity following a home thumping from Watford.

Stoke had gone into the international break in a pretty confident mood but were put in their place at the bet365 Stadium by Watford, under new manager Slaven Bilic. Stoke were fighting for an equaliser through the opening stages of the second half but when the second goal went the other way, they fell apart and lost 4-0.

I think the difficulty Ive got is that I looked at the last two performances, said Neil. We went away to Hull and I know theyre not doing well at the moment but its a difficult venue because theyve got dangerous players. We went to QPR who are in good form. In both games we were resilient and resolute. We were aggressive.

LIVE:Reaction from the bet365 Stadium

The biggest difference is that we dont concede first. I think when you concede first it tells you a lot about individuals and a lot about you collectively. Youve got to rally from a difficult position. When youre not getting it your own way, what is your response going to be?

Are you going to roll over and get your belly tickled or are you going to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in?

Stoke were frustrated that an offside flag wasnt raised for Watfords opener this time around, even if no one could try to argue that the visitors werent well worth their win.

Neil said: (The first goal is important in the Championship) particularly for us. What happens is that when we concede the first goal and have to come out and leave spaces behind, its an issue. I thought you could see that in the second half.

When the second one goes in the last thing you want to do is sit in and try to be compact. You really want to force the issue and get yourself back in the game and that means you leave yourself in situations when you have to defend one v one. We didnt defend those situations well enough.

Watford will be tipped to race up the league table under Bilic but Neil was irate about giving them a helping hand they didnt need and didnt accept rustiness as an excuse for poor basic passing or defending.

Its not rustiness, he said. Were 11 games into the season.

I thought for spells, like up to the second goal, we went at it and we had a go and tried to do things properly. I thought from the second goal onwards, it was not reflective of any team Ive ever had.

That is a real frustration.

He added: I can rephrase it five times for five different questions but its rubbish isnt it.

The players arent stupid. Theyre grown men. Im quite frank and honest with them. The fact is, if you dont do the basics well enough, youre not going to win enough games.

It doesnt matter if its me or anybody else who walks in the building, as a professional, have a bit of pride in what youre doing and dont accept getting beat.

Ive never had a team that rolls over and accepts getting beat, never.

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