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The 25-year-old defender believes the players cannot make excuses for their performance in the defeat to the Canaries and that they need to "work harder" to improve for the future

Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross has insisted the blame for the team's poor performance against Norwich lies with the players.

The Potters lost 1-0 after Bradley Johnson latched onto the end of a controversial free kick to score the only goal of the game, with replays showing that the penalised Andy Wilkinson did not appears to make contact with the felled Robert Snodgrass for the set-piece.

However, the club captain has refused to lay the blame on the officials, insisting that the players needed to take responsibility for their lacklustre performance.

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"It was disappointing. We came here wanting to win and we've come away with a poor performance and no points." Shawcross told reporters.

"I thought the referee didn't give the free-kick and then the linesman did. But it is one of those things. You have to deal with the free-kick and we didn't.

"It's not been our greatest performance, we can't get away from that. It's something we need to improve on."

Despite two openings falling to Jon Walters and Kenwyn Jones to get back into the match, Stoke could not alter the scoreline and thusly left Carrow Road empty-handed.

Shawcross highlighted the missed opportunities but is eager for the entire team – from defence to attack - to "work harder" in future.

He continued: "We put some good balls into the box; Crouchy and Kenwyne were causing trouble and we got a few chances.

"Kenwyne had one which he probably should have put away and there were a few other half-chances which didn't fall to us."

"It is a team game and we all need to work harder to get some more goals and keep more clean sheets."

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