April 1, 2018 / 4:36 PM / a year ago

Soccer: Lambert says Stoke to avoid relegation - with help from Lady Luck

LONDON (Reuters) - Stoke manager Paul Lambert said on Sunday he was fully confident that his team will avoid relegation from the Premier League this season - with just a little help from Lady Luck.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Arsenal vs Stoke City - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - April 1, 2018 Stoke City manager Paul Lambert REUTERS/Hannah McKay

“The one thing that’s missing from our game at the minute is Lady Luck. Teams need it, players need it, everybody needs it. At the minute we’ve just not had it,” Lambert told reporters after Stoke lost 3-0 to Arsenal at the Emirates.

The late Arsenal goal rush left Stoke second from bottom in the league on 27 points, only three points behind Crystal Palace in 17th spot but with a heavy goal deficit to make up.

Lambert said he was unhappy about the referee’s penalty decision, awarded for a foul by Bruno Martins Indi on Mesut Ozil, that led to Arsenal’s first goal in the 74th minute.

“In the big moments in the big games, I think you’ve got to be 100 percent right to call them (penalties), especially with the magnitude of the game. It was a game changer,” Lambert said.

But he was happy with the fight his side had shown throughout the game and in other recent matches, despite them now having gone eight games without a win.

“I thought we were brilliant. We came here against a team in the top six and that has been for years. Performance-wise I couldn’t ask any more,” Lambert said.

“I’m pretty sure the way that we performed gives everybody great hope that we can finish in the League,” he said.

“There’s been really good games that we should have took more points out of.”

Asked again how confident he was of avoiding the drop, Lambert was unequivocal: “One hundred percent. I thought that when I came in, and nothing’s changed my mind that we’re going to do it.”

Reporting by Hugh Lawson; Editing by Toby Davis

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