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Top-half finish is Stoke’s target, says Shawcross

Top-half finish is Stoke’s target, says Shawcross

REUTERS – Anything less than finishing in the top half of the Premier League table for Stoke City would be a major disappointment, captain Ryan Shawcross has said.

The Potters are 11th in the league after 17 games and have only finished twice in the top half of the table during their seven-year stint in England’s top-flight, with ninth being their highest ever.

“We’ve got the best squad Stoke’s ever had. If we don’t finish top 10, it’ll be a very disappointing season,” Shawcross told the BBC.

Stoke have scored 14 league goals this season, the joint-least along with bottom side Aston Villa, and Shawcross believes Mark Hughes’s men must be more clinical in front of goal.

“We’ve had a lot of games where we’ve should’ve won by a lot more than we have. The chances are there for us and we’ve got to convert them and climb up there,” the 28-year-old defender said.

Having lost 2-1 to Crystal Palace in the league last weekend, the Potters will be looking to bounce back when they host fifth-placed Manchester United on Saturday.

Shawcross is confident his side can pick up the three points having already beaten both Chelsea and Manchester City at the Britannia Stadium this season.

“I think when the big teams come here everyone knows we usually do very well against them,” Shawcross said.

“We’ve shown we can beat the best of them and hopefully there’ll be a red-hot atmosphere.”

(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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