April 30, 2018 / 2:08 PM / 3 months ago

Soccer: Players must take responsibility for Stoke's troubles, says Allen

(Reuters) - Stoke City players must accept the blame for the club’s dismal performances that have led them to the brink of relegation from the Premier League, midfielder Joe Allen has said.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Stoke City vs Huddersfield Town - bet365 Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Britain - January 20, 2018 Stoke City's Joe Allen celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Peter Powell

Stoke slightly boosted their survival hopes after earning their third successive draw at Liverpool last Saturday. However, a 12-game winless run has left Paul Lambert’s side three points behind 17th-placed Swansea City with two matches remaining.

Allen believes there were early warning signs of Stoke’s poor league run, which has seen the club win just six of their 36 matches so far.

“It’s on the players to go out there and perform. Whether it was lack of focus, complacency, I don’t know. I think we let ourselves down earlier in the season. Let’s hope it doesn’t end in the disaster of relegation,” Allen is quoted as saying by the Stoke Sentinel.

“I think there were red flags and warning signs that we maybe took a while to see and wake up to. That’s probably the biggest reason we’re in the position we’re in now.

“I think we might not have picked up that many points in the last couple of months, but the performances have been ten times better. Everyone believes if we had played like this all season, we’d be out of it by now.”

Stoke, who last won a league game in January, can pull off an unlikely escape as they head into must-win matches against Crystal Palace and fellow strugglers Swansea in the closing games of the season.

Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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