Dave Kemp: Strong defence will help Stoke City revolution
DAVE Kemp believes Stoke's table-topping defensive record will give them time to rectify their goal problem at the other end of the pitch.
Stoke have come under fire for scoring just nine times in their first 11 Premier League games.
But the critics have overlooked the fact no other club have conceded fewer goals or claimed more clean sheets than Stoke this season.
Only champions Manchester City can match their record of 10 goals conceded, while only West Ham can equal their record of five clean sheets (see table).
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"It's always good to have that kind of defensive record," said Kemp, "because it's difficult to keep winning games 4-3 or 5-4.
"As long as you are defending right, you've got a chance to win games, and it also gives you a platform when you are trying to change things, like we are.
"We are trying to integrate new players and a new system, something that doesn't happen overnight, but being solid at the other end gives you a chance."
Kemp believes Stoke's reputation leaves them vulnerable to criticism other clubs often escape.
"I understand people expecting us to score more goals, and it is something we are working on," he added.
"But why is a club like Liverpool, with a similar record and below us in the league, getting pats on the back while we are getting criticism at a time when we are trying to adapt things?"
Meanwhile, Kemp is quietly confident of seeing Ryan Shawcross make his England debut in Sweden tomorrow.
"The fact Ryan has been picked for the squad again is a good sign, so hopefully he'll get his chance," he said.
"I also think being an international player will give him that extra bit of stature."