Michael O’Neill didn’t take long to work his magic at Stoke City.
The Potters scored four goals in a league game for the first time since they beat Everton 4-3 in December 2015 as they won 4-2 at Barnsley to lift themselves off bottom spot in the Championship.
O’Neill’s men leapfrog their hosts, going two clear, and are now only three points off safety as their survival bid gets a timely shot in the arm.
The 50-year-old’s time in charge couldn’t have got off to a better start as just eight minutes in to his first game in charge of the Potters, they had netted a goal of the season contender.
Midfielder Sam Clucas picked up the ball just inside the opposition half and managed to lob out-of-place Barnsely goalkeeper Brad Collins to give Stoke a 1-0 lead at Oakwell.
When Michael O’Neill is your manager 😎 #magic #GAWA #SCFC pic.twitter.com/syp5gGQas1
— Belfast Telegraph Sport (@BelTel_Sport) November 9, 2019
The lead was doubled on the half-hour mark when Lee Gregory converted a penalty after Republic of Ireland international James McClean had been fouled.
Northern Ireland Under 21 international Cameron McGeehan gave O’Neill a brief scare when he struck for Barnsley to halve the deficit at the start of the second half but former Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen and Clucas’ second of the day secured the win before Patrick Schmidt completed the scoring.
The incoming boss made six changes to the Stoke line-up and although at least half of those could be put down to injury, O’Neill did make the decision to bring McClean and Tom Ince back in from the bench.
He was looking to turn around a dismal run of results with Stoke having lost 11 of their 15 league games so far this season.
Belfast Telegraph Digital