Alex Neil would rather stink the place out to get Stoke City back up and running in the Championship after a sour return to old club Norwich City made it four league defeats in five.

The Scot, who memorably guided the Canaries to a Wembley play-off final win in his Carrow Road tenure, has brought in 18 new players over the summer to get the Potters in the promotion shake up.

Jack Stacey’s first half strike and Stoke’s lack of a cutting edge made it another frustrating afternoon.

“We’re basically trying to bond a brand new squad together,” he said. “Then when you lose some of the new lads you have brought in (to injury), you are replacing them with even newer lads. So I thought this game was encouraging. But I would rather play poorly and win. Trust me, I would. I would rather play c*** and win.

“I think we’ll get some good results. We’ll be fine. I’ve got no worries about us at all. It’s an element of getting consistency with the starting XI, getting consistency with people being available and making sure we don’t have to change too much too often – and I think once we get to that point, which I’m hoping is going to be quite soon, we can keep performing like that and we’ll be more than fine.

“I don't think we deserved to lose the game. I thought we had some really good moments in the game. I thought it was going to be defined by the more clinical team and I think that's where the game ended up.

“I think we arguably had what, four or five really good opportunities and unfortunately didn't convert them. Their goal was a really sort of scruffy goal from our perspective. It was probably one of the only times in the game when we didn't defend the box well enough.

“So yeah, I’m really disappointed to lose the game. Your players know when they play well because they look gutted after the game, not because they didn’t play well but through the fact that they didn’t capitalise and take their chances.”