Paul Lambert has insisted that Stoke will bounce back into the Premier League, and hinted he could be the man to lead the charge after the Potters’ relegation was sealed following a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon.
Xherdan Shaqiri looked to have set the Potters up for only their seventh league victory of the season with a stunning free-kick prior to half time to keep relegation at bay, only for goals from James McArthur and Patrick van Aanholt to hit the back of the net for the visitors to consign Stoke to the Championship.
Lambert took the place of Mark Hughes in January but was unable to turn the tide after Stoke had slipped too deep into the bottom three, despite being buoyed by back-to-back draws in recent weeks.
Despite the hefty setback, the Scot hinted he is still willing to lead the club in their bid to return to the top flight at the first time of asking.
After the game he told the BBC, via the Independent: “I love it here it’s brilliant. 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.”
Despite dropping out of the Premier League for the first time in 10-years following a 13 game streak in the league without a win, Lambert was proud of his sides’ commitment and believed if Saturday’s effort had been replicated throughout the entire season then they would have been safe.
He added: “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.
“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.
“They’ve [the fans] backed us to the hilt and I feel for them. Even after the game they waited to cheer us on.”