as reported by the,

Waking up this morning was bad enough, not least after that M6 closure in the early hours.

But waking up to hear Radio 5 Live tell you that Chris Sutton had apparently accused a few Stoke players of downing tools at West Ham last night was enough to have you choking on your Rice Krispies.

We all know the guy likes to court a headline or two for himself, and without the cheeky smile of a Robbie Savage, but kicking a team when it’s down, with no good reason, does Sutton no credit.

Stoke could be accused of many things last night – lack of quality in key areas, lack of concentration at a key time, maybe even a lack of luck – but chucking in the towel was not one of them.

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Even Xherdan Shaqiri, an acid test for such accusations, couldn’t be accused of any more than showing his evident and perhaps understandable frustration at times.

And he downed tools so blatantly that it couldn’t possibly have been him forcing Joe Hart’s fatal error as late as the 79th minute, could it?

A dejected Xherdan Shaqiri (left) and Jack Butland after the Premier League match at London Stadium. (Image: PA)

Paul Lambert hasn’t been quite able to inspire the results Stoke need to save themselves, not yet at least, but what he has done is root out those players likely to down tools and contaminate events around them.

And they were nowhere to be seen at the London Stadium last night.

That’s why there was another standing ovation at the final whistle from nearly a thousand Stoke fans and it’s hard to imagine them diverting their appreciation away from any player on view last night.

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Supporters are now left in something of a limbo, perhaps, as we approach the business end of the season.

You don’t want to be accused of naivety by insisting the Great Escape is still on for Stoke City.

Stoke City’s Badou Ndiaye and Peter Crouch look dejected after the Premier League match against West Ham at the London Stadium.

But nor do you want to be accused of treachery by insisting the club is down in all but name.

Three wins could well keep them up on 37 points, but with Liverpool away in just under a fortnight it’s effectively

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