Peter Crouch has defiantly urged his Stoke City teammates to move on from their disappointing late surrender of a lead, and two vital points, against West Ham on Monday night and build on that performance to win three of their last four matches this season to maintain the club’s Premier League status.
Crouch had scored what seemed to be a crucial goal to give his side a 1-0 lead away at the London Stadium. However, a last-minute Andy Carroll equaliser for the hosts painfully denied the Potters a desperately needed win.
That 1-1 draw did little to boost Stoke’s fading hopes of survival, but Crouch insists that his side must continue to believe and fight to avoid relegation, with the forward insisting (via the Independent) that 'the belief is still there'.
“It feels like a defeat,” Crouch said after the game. “Conceding so late, it’s a crushing blow. But it’s not over. We’ve still got games we can win. But a win would have lifted everyone”.
Now five points short of Swansea and a position of safety, Stoke must hope that newly-crowned champions Manchester City can halt Swansea’s survival bid in a game at the Etihad which directly follows on from Stoke’s hosting of Burnley on Sunday. If the Potters’ hopes of survival are to prevail, that match against Sean Dyche’s side is one in which Paul Lambert’s strugglers simply must take the three points.
Crouch believes the Burnley match can be the start of a winning streak which could yet save his side from the drop.
He continued: “The belief is still there. Everyone is down, but we came so close to winning. You look at the four games we’ve got left and three of them, if we win them, staying up is still a possibility.”
The striker’s fighting spirit must be shared among the rest of the Stoke squad if they are to mount an unlikely comeback to safety.
A potentially discouraging trip to Anfield follows on from this weekend’s match with Burnley, with Stoke’s final two games against Crystal Palace and away to Swansea already shaping up to be huge clashes among the occupants of the Premier League danger zone.