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Giannelli Imbula admits that he must improve for Stoke City

Stoke's Gianelli Imbula scores their first goal

The club's record signing has not started a Premier League game in two months after a dismal beginning to the season.

Stoke's Gianelli Imbula in action with Manchester City's  Jesus Navas

Stoke City midfielder Giannelli Imbula has told the Stoke Sentinel that being benched consistently is hard to take, but that enduring his run of poor form at the start of the season was even more challenging.

Imbula is Stoke's record signing, with the club splashing £18.3m (as reported by the Mail) to lure him away from FC Porto. But he has not been a regular feature for Mark Hughes this season, and has not started a Premier League game for two months after a string of underwhelming displays at the start of the campaign.

The 24-year-old is under contract until 2021 and, despite being somewhat frozen out by his manager recently, insists his long-term future lies at Stoke City. In his first interview in English, Imbula expressed his understanding at why he has been dropped, noting that he was frustrated with himself regarding his performances in the early weeks of the 2016-17 Premier League season.

He also admitted that, in order to get back into Stoke's starting XI, he must improve his application on the pitch rather than alter his playing style.

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes

Speaking to the Stoke Sentinel, Imbula said: “It is very difficult to watch the game rather than play. I don't like being a spectator but if I play bad I get so angry with myself.

"To sit on the bench is very difficult but worse is playing bad and I think I played bad at the start of the season. I know I played very badly.

Stoke's Giannelli Imbula in action with Sunderland's Jan Kirchhoff

“I have to work hard to get back in the team but I do not want to change my style. I think I have a unique style. It's not that, it's the application that I have to change.

"My long-term future is still at Stoke but of course I want to play. That decision is not up to me, it is up to the manager."

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