May 5, 2018 / 2:58 PM / 20 days ago

Soccer: Lambert vows Stoke will bounce back after relegation

LONDON (Reuters) - Stoke City manager Paul Lambert vowed that his side would bounce back into the Premier League after their relegation was confirmed on Saturday with a 2-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Stoke City vs Crystal Palace - bet365 Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Britain - May 5, 2018. Stoke City manager Paul Lambert reacts after the match as they are relegated from the Premier League. REUTERS/Peter Powell

The Scot, who took over from Mark Hughes in January but failed to revive the ailing Potters, made it sound as if he still wanted to be the man to lead them back into the top flight after a familiar dispiriting afternoon.

“I love it here it’s brilliant,” Lambert told the BBC. “It’s probably not too dissimilar to Glasgow where I’m from — a hard-working place — and we have to bounce back up now.

“The club is too big not to. It will regroup and it’s got the right infra-structure in place to do it.”

Stoke’s fate was sealed with a familiar mixed performance — plenty of effort but a lack of bite and quality up front — as they surrendered a lead given to them by Xherdan Shaqiri’s free kick just before the break.

After the interval, though, Palace dominated to win with goals from James McArthur and Patrick van Aanholt and end the Potters’ 10-year stay in the Premier League.

Despite the disappointment of overseeing a 13th league match without a win — Stoke’s worst top-flight sequence in 34 years — Lambert applauded the efforts of his side.

He even suggested they would have been safe if they had played with this sort of commitment for the entire campaign.

“We lacked a bit more quality at the top end of the pitch. If the lads had been playing the way they did for me all season they probably wouldn’t be in this position,” Lambert said.

“I can’t ask for more commitment. The story of the 15 games I’ve been here has been of exceptional effort. The club is in a good position to rebuild and either way they had to rebuild.”

The Stoke fans, in familiar fashion, never stopped cheering on their side amid the disappointment, leaving Lambert to applaud them.

“They’ve backed us to the hilt and I feel for them. Even after the game they waited to cheer us on,” he said.

Reporting by Ian Chadband, editing by Ed Osmond

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