Paul Lambert leaves Stoke City by mutual consent despite suggesting he wanted to stay on
Paul Lambert has left his post as Stoke manager by mutual consent following their relegation to the Championship.
The Scot was appointed on a two-and-a-half-year deal in January but was unable to save the Potters from sliding into the second tier after a 10-year stay in the top flight.
Lambert had denied there was a break clause in his contract that could be activated by him or the club in the event of Stoke going down, but the Potters will now be looking for a new manager ahead of next term.
Former Aston Villa and Norwich boss Lambert won just two of his 15 games at the helm.
A club statement posted on stokecityfc.com read: "Stoke City can confirm that Paul Lambert has left his position as manager by mutual consent.
"The club would like to thank Paul for his work over the past four months and wish him well for the future.
"Whilst he was unable to guide us to Premier League safety after being appointed in January, it certainly wasn't due to a lack of effort, professionalism and dedication on his part.
"Paul would like to thank the board, players and staff for the opportunity and their support. He would also like to thank the fans for their unwavering support. Whilst looking forward to his next challenge, he would like to wish the club every success next season.
"The club will appoint a replacement as soon as possible in order to give the new manager time to prepare for the challenge of the 2018-19 season in the Championship."
Lambert was not Stoke's first choice when they sacked Mark Hughes in January, but Gary Rowett signed a new deal with Derby and Espanyol's Quique Sanchez Flores and the Republic of Ireland's Martin O'Neill both opted to stay in their respective posts.
That meant the Potters board surprisingly turned to Lambert, who had been out of work since leaving Wolves at the end of the previous campaign, due to his previous Premier League experience with Villa and the Canaries.
Lambert made a dream start in the position when Stoke beat Huddersfield 2-0 in his first game in charge, yet they would not win again until last weekend's victory at Swansea, by which point their relegation had already been confirmed.
Lambert had attempted to drag the Potters out of the mire by installing disciplinary measures, and Saido Berahino, Ibrahim Afellay, Jese Rodriguez and Kevin Wimmer all finished the season exiled from the first-team picture.
Speaking after the final game of the season, Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross had implored the club to resolve their managerial situation "this week" and that has been the case, with Lambert moving on.