Sunday 16 June 2019

Paul Lambert denies the existence of a break clause in his Stoke contract

Stoke City part company with manager Paul Lambert
Stoke City part company with manager Paul Lambert

Eleanor Crooks

Paul Lambert has denied there is a break clause in his contract that could put his future at Stoke in doubt.

Reports this week claimed either Lambert or the club could activate the clause to part ways following the Potters' relegation to the Sky Bet Championship.

But Lambert was unequivocal both that there is no such thing and about his determination to stay and rebuild.

Whether Stoke's owners feel the same after a run of 14 games without a win, following victory in Lambert's first match against Huddersfield, remains to be seen, and they are set to hold talks after Sunday's final game at Swansea.

Lambert said: "There's no clause. I'm pretty sure when the game finishes we'll sit down and talk like any manager and owners. That's not a problem.

"The football club's brilliant. I love it here, I really do. It's a great opportunity to rebuild it because I know the areas where it's really lacking and I know the character you want to bring into the club, the type of player that suits this club, and first and foremost players that want to be here."

Lambert remained confident Stoke could claw their way out of trouble right up until defeat to Crystal Palace last weekend proved to be the final nail in the coffin.

He said of the last week: "This has been tough. It's still raw for everybody connected with the club and it's really disappointing that we go down but there's a really good chance to rebuild it and strip it back.

"I've had a lot of success in my own career and you want the lads to have success and you want the club to have success, and when it doesn't get met, then it hurts, more than anything. The anger's there. Any successful sportsman has got an edge to them and I don't think we had enough edge to succeed."

Lambert inherited a divided squad and Stoke will finish the season with Saido Berahino, Ibrahim Afellay, Jese Rodriguez and Kevin Wimmer all exiled from the first-team set-up.

The Scot made clear what his priority will be when recommending new signings, saying: "Here's a good idea, make sure when you come, you want to play here. It's a proud football club and it needs players that want to be here."

Charlie Adam and Jack Butland were publicly critical of their team-mates and Stoke's recruitment policy following the loss to Palace.

Lambert said: "I've spoken to the lads. I read the two full transcripts and there's some good things in there as well. The lads knew they were at fault as well. It wasn't just that they threw everybody under the bus, they knew they were part of it."

Owners Peter and John Coates released a statement following relegation admitting to significant errors in the transfer market.

"Everybody makes mistakes and they won't make them again, I'm pretty sure of that," said Lambert. "I think the club will go from strength to strength, they've got a great infrastructure.

"I think there's a lot of frustration and anger with what's happened. I think collectively we've let ourselves down, not just one or two, everybody's at fault. You win together and you lose together. That's the situation of it.

"There's got to be a time that's got to stop. You can't keep harping back, it's gone. You look at it a little bit then you must let it go and look to the future and rebuild it. And you clean the club up, because it needs it, and it will get cleaned up."

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