Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Matty Scared Of Seeing Stoke Slip Into Slumber

Matt Etherington is desperate to ensure his Stoke side do not head into a tail-spin following their FA Cup exit.

The Potters were knocked out by Liverpool in Sunday's quarter-final, and now have nothing left to play for except a decent league position.

After a season of highs that included a lengthy run in the Europa League, Etherington is determined not to end the campaign on a low.

He is urging the Potters to aim for a top 10 finish - something they failed to achieve last term when a run of two wins in their final eight league games saw them plummet down the table even as they qualified for the FA Cup Final.

The winger said: "We've got to finish this season strongly. We deserve to finish in the top 10, I don't think anyone can argue with that.

"We missed out last season, but if we can make sure this time around then I think you can say it's been a successful campaign.''

Etherington, who scored twice as Stoke beat Spurs 2-1 at the Britannia back in December, senses he is coming up against his former club at the good time.

A run of three league defeats appears to have sapped their confidence amid suggestions that the possibility of manager Harry Redknapp leaving to take the England job is playing on their minds.

Etherington said: "Winning here [against Spurs] was a great day. Obviously I scored two and we played very well, especially in the first half, when we were brilliant.

"It's going to be hard away from home, but we've won there before and we competed well last season, when we lost 3-2. We'll be looking to play like that again.

"Spurs may be on a tricky run at the moment, and the talk about Harry Redknapp and England probably hasn't helped them, but they've got some top players and it's always tough going there."

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