(Reuters) - Stoke City players have to accept the blame for the club’s poor start to the Premier League campaign and must fight together to help the team climb up the table, midfielder Charlie Adam has said.
Stoke are in danger of dropping into the relegation zone after Monday’s 1-0 home defeat by Newcastle United left the hosts two points ahead of 18th-placed West Ham United, having played two games more.
The Potters’ perilous position has piled the pressure on manager Mark Hughes, with some fans calling for him to be sacked. However, Adam believes it is the players that must take responsibility for the team’s record of five defeats in their last seven league games.
“We’re in the mix now,” Adam told the club’s website (www.stokecityfc.com). “We are down there fighting for survival, and we need to find some character to get us out of this mess.
“We need to stand up and be counted, because as a group of players, we are the ones who have put ourselves in the situation we’re in.”
The Scot said that Stoke should prioritize the league over FA Cup fixtures but urged the team to get a much-needed morale boost by beating Coventry City in the cup competition on Saturday.
“League form must take priority, but when you’re in this situation, you just have to win games. We have to look at ourselves, and get a win in the next game,” Adam added.
“The players have to keep going, and keep up the fight... As a team, we need to pick up points as soon as possible, and come the end of the season, hopefully it will be enough.
“Coventry City on Saturday is not going to be an easy test. They are going OK in League Two (fourth tier), so it is going to be a difficult game.”
Stoke return to league action with a trip to Manchester United on Jan. 15.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge