Sports

Xherdan Shaqiri scores an inch-perfect free kick for Stoke

Xherdan Shaqiri scores an inch-perfect free kick for Stoke

The first big question concerns Lambert's future, but there are plenty of other things that need to be sorted out if Stoke are to return to the top table at the first time of asking. Had the Potters won any of those games, they would be out of the relegation zone.

Stoke made a poor start to the season with many of Hughes' decision coming under scrutiny, particularly when he rested first team regulars for a 5-0 defeat to Chelsea, in order to prepare for a match against Newcastle United - which the Potters also lost.

Nothing less than victory will do for Stoke City when Crystal Palace visit the bet365 Stadium in Saturday's Premier League clash.

It would leave the Potters with one game to go an a far inferior goal difference to fourth from bottom Swansea.

West Brom will join Stoke in the Championship unless they beat Tottenham in their 3pm match today.

Forced to throw men forward in search of a victor, Lambert's side were carved open in the 86th minute as van Aanholt slotted home to seal Stoke's fate.

Palace are 11th in the Premier League with 38 points.

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Loftus-Cheek had a chance to reply immediately but Stoke skipper Ryan Shawcross cleared.

"I have to take stock in the summer and we have to address what has gone on this season because we have been nowhere near it". The fans have been brilliant today, a tough result and they're still cheering us.

We are backing Zaha as our prediction for the game. We need to get our preparation right - it obviously wasn't right this season, because of a change in manager so early in the season.

He added: "We got hit on the break a few times". But we will be back.

"The goal was my fault". In a game they needed to win, Paul Lambert's men mustered just eight shots, only two of which found the target.

Lambert also played down rumours regarding Wolverhampton Wanderers' potential £35 million bid for Stoke keeper Jack Butland. "If we keep our players - and we've got a good manager - we'll be back and hopefully will come back strong".


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