Stoke City boss Michael O’Neill said his ‘fragile’ side lacked belief as they fell to a seventh home defeat of the season.

Sam Gallagher struck six minutes from time to give Rovers their first away win in two months at the bet365 Stadium.

Bradley Dack had Rovers ahead in the 13th minute, only for the hosts to pull one back through an own goal. At that point the home crowd sensed their side could snatch all three, before Rovers scored on the counter-attack.

And a deflated O’Neill, whose side lost for the second time in four days, said: “I think there was a lack of belief which is both an individual and collective thing and we have to get past it.

"What happens Monday-Friday is irrelevant if you don’t have the belief to go on the pitch on a Saturday and show you’re capable of playing, deal with the situation, deal with the fact we’re in the bottom three and in a fight to stay in this league. That’s the reality of the situation.

"I felt we were a bit fragile. We looked fragile.

"When you see that, that’s when the quality diminishes in possession of the ball and why players make poor decisions at times.

"But we’re going to have to play under this intensity for the rest of the season so they need to be prepared for it."

Rovers dominated the ball in the first half, and caused Stoke problems by overloading in the midfield areas, with the full backs in particular getting plenty of joy.

O’Neill felt his side stepped it up after the break, but was left disappointed by the goals conceded.

"First half we were poor, we were physically poor. I felt we were a yard short in a lot of aspects and short on quality as well,” he added.

"The amount of opportunities we had to put the ball in the box, I can’t think of one decent ball that we put in the box.

"We had to change a little bit. They caused us a problem with (Joe) Rothwell playing narrow - which we thought they might do because we had seen them on Wednesday night - and it’s a poor goal to lose.

"At the end of the day it’s a set piece. You can do as much work and as much analysis of our position at set pieces and the way they play but you have to go and head the ball and defend. We didn’t do that and we’re behind.

"We had to come from behind again, a familiar situation for this team this season.

"Having clawed our way back, not through great quality if I’m honest, just playing with greater intensity and higher energy, we get the opportunity to go level.

"Then again, it’s an Achilles heel. A poor goal to lose on the counter-attack. We don’t defend it well and it costs us the game."