Xherdan Shaqiri reveals the secrets about how boss Paul Lambert has helped boost team spirit in Stoke’s fight for survival.
Xherdan Shaqiri reveals Stoke boss Paul Lambert has banned players using their phones at dinner but feels it’s helped bring them closer together.
With three defeats from their last six games, Stoke sit 19th in the Premier League but travel to Leicester on Saturday, live on Sky Sports, knowing a win at the King Power Stadium would lift them out of the bottom three.
Lambert, who replaced the sacked Mark Hughes last month, has had a positive effect on the squad, according to Shaqiri.
Leicester vs Stoke
February 24, 2018, 12:30pm
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The pair share a common interest of German football with both playing in the Bundesliga at some various points of their playing careers and both were coached by Ottmar Hitzfeld, who Lambert won the Champions League for when playing for Borussia Dortmund.
Since taking over from Hughes, the new Stoke boss has increased the intensity of training sessions and tried to bring the dressing room together by making the players eat lunch or dinner together without the distraction of mobile phones.
Shaqiri thinks that type of management is heavily influenced by Lambert’s experiences working in Germany.
“He has a German mentality with his teams…I’m really glad he came here,” Shaqiri told Sky Sports.
“With German teams they always sit together – there are no phones on the table. It’s brought us more together – when you eat together you have to speak more to other team-mates who you don’t normally speak to. It’s a good thing.
“You get a fine if you get your phone out at dinner! You have to respect the rules. Everybody respects that – the team is more compact now. That’s important for a team who needs that now.
“We are happy and confident.”
The Swiss attacker starred in Lambert’s first game in charge, a 2-0 win over Huddersfield, while he has found the net in each of his last two games.
Although he admits Stoke have struggled to match their form of previous seasons, he feels that his own individual performances have been the best he has produced in a Stoke shirt.
“It’s not the best season for Stoke but as a player you try your best to put in good performances,” Shaqiri said.
“Personally, it’s been the best season so far for me and I’m glad with my performances this season. But, I’m not happy with how the season has gone.
“Am I playing a good season due to some people leaving? I think not. I’m trying every year – this league is different to Italy and Germany – you need to adapt.
“This is my third year and I can say ‘I am here now’ and I’ve done very well. You need time to adapt in the Premier League – I’m really happy now with my performances but as a team we should be better.”