January 16, 2018 / 5:21 PM / 4 months ago

Buoyant Lambert calls for unity at struggling Stoke

(Reuters) - New Stoke City manager Paul Lambert said he is “100 percent sure” that the relegation-threatened club can retain their Premier League status this season if they work together to improve.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Stoke City - Paul Lambert Press Conference - bet365 Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Britain - January 16, 2018 New Stoke City manager Paul Lambert poses after the press conference Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

Lambert, who was named as Mark Hughes’s replacement on Monday, watched from the stands as Stoke suffered a 3-0 defeat at Manchester United. It was the Potters’ 13th loss in 23 league games and kept them 18th in the standings.

Stoke have also conceded the most goals in the league (50) and are winless in their last five games across all competitions but Lambert says he is not intimidated by the challenge ahead.

“I’m 100 percent sure that we have enough to stay up. The club shouldn’t be in the position we are in. If we can get a togetherness with the team, as well as fans’ backing, we should be fine,” Lambert told a news conference on Tuesday.

“This is not new to me. I’ve played and managed at the highest level before and am looking forward to it again.

“... We win as a team, we lose as a team. As a team we have to be better. Going forward, I think we are really good. We have to be more aggressive off the ball, close people down a bit quicker and if we can do that we’ll be all right.”

Lambert also urged Stoke fans, who were vociferous in supporting their new boss on Monday, to stick with the team and back them through a tough period.

“From day one, the fans are going to be vital. At the same time we need to give them something to shout about. We need to be on the front foot. I’m sure the atmosphere will be different to what it has been of late on Saturday,” Lambert added.

“If we win games, that is the most important thing. It’s important the fans get behind the team and drive us on.”

Stoke, in the final relegation place, are a point adrift of 17th-placed Southampton ahead of Saturday’s home league game against 14th-placed Huddersfield Town.

Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis

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