(Reuters) - Stoke City winger Xherdan Shaqiri has expressed his frustration at the club’s ongoing struggle to avoid relegation from the Premier League, saying he had hoped to be competing in the top half of the table rather than the bottom.
The Swiss international enjoyed trophy-laden spells at FC Basel and German giants Bayern Munich, where he won two league titles and collected a Champions League winners medal, before moving to Inter Milan and eventually Stoke in 2015.
While the Potters secured a ninth-placed finish in Shaqiri’s debut season, the club slipped to 13th a year later and are currently second from bottom, five points adrift of safety after winning just six of 34 matches.
“Of course I’m frustrated,” Shaqiri told the Stoke Sentinel. “Everyone has been frustrated all season. We are a better team than where we are at the moment.
“I have more ambition to play at higher levels than the bottom of the table. Everyone wants that but we have to do more to make it happen. I don’t know the reason (we haven’t), you have to ask the sport directors.
“I chose Stoke because the coach who called me said they were going to make a good team and try in the future to play more in the front of the table. This hasn’t happened.”
Shaqiri has enjoyed his most productive season as a Stoke player, scoring seven goals and providing six assists in 32 league appearances, but the club have failed to mirror his form.
The 26-year-old expressed his love for the club despite their dismal season and believes Stoke must win at least three of their four remaining matches to avoid dropping to the Championship next season.
“Of course I love the club, I love the fans. I think I’ve done very well for them. I have scored a lot this season, especially in the time we were not so good... ,” he added.
“I hope we are going to win some games. We have to. We have to win a minimum three games to survive.”
Stoke host Burnley in the league on Sunday.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru