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Pieters thrilled with winner

Stoke defender Erik Pieters ended a six-year goal drought against Newcastle on Saturday - beating his best friend Tim Krul in the process.

Last Updated: 13/04/14 at 13:38 Post Comment

Erik Pieters: Celebrates his rare goal

Erik Pieters: Celebrates his rare goal

Newcastle goalkeeper Krul could only watch helplessly as Pieters' attempted cross from the left drifted over his head and dropped inside the far post.

It was just the third goal of the 25-year-old's career, and his first since he scored the winner for FC Utrecht against FC Groningen in April 2008.

Pieters and Krul have been friends since playing together for the Dutch Under-17 team, and the full-back joked: "I told him I meant it.

"Everybody knows he's my best friend in football. I've known him since I was 17. It was really good to score my first goal, and a great goal as well, against him.

"We talk to each other a lot, about our personal lives as well. We support each other always and we have a good relationship. I'll keep texting him, for sure."

Pieters still harbours hopes of a World Cup appearance in the summer, has formed a good partnership with winger Marko Arnautovic down the left-hand side, and he said: "I like to play together with Marko.

"We have had to learn how to play with each other and I think we're showing that every week we're getting better and better.

"The team didn't play that well. I know we can play better, but, when you win and keep a clean sheet, that's the most important thing."

It was Stoke's fourth victory from their last five matches and keeps alive their hopes of a first top-10 finish in the Premier League.

Midfielder Stephen Ireland said: "We want these last games to mean something, and we're chasing teams down.

"The manager wants us to win every game between now and the end of the season. He's not going to let us take our foot off the gas whatsoever.

"It was a tough game. We were sloppy, they were sloppy - it was just one of those games. Luckily we got the three points. If anyone was going to win the points, it was us.

"We had 40 points coming into this game and I don't think that's enough to start celebrating. The manager wants 50-plus. That's what he wanted at the start of the season. We're in a position to do it, so we're going to go for it."

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W

e have the personnel. The trick is keeping them fit. Carrick and Blind have missed large chunks of the season, while the defence has been one muddled mess of intermittent stooges, all coming and going at various intervals thus far. We may be just short of title winning quality, but we're half way through. An injury crisis to either of the top two could change things. Optimistic, yes, but not unrealistic.

HarryBoulton
One Point And One Conclusion For United

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arish is the man to blame for this shambles. Pulis must be chuckling into his left over turkey sandwich. I pray this doesn't mean the Neil Warnock media machine will kick in now and he'll be back on the telly box.

magicfuller
Warnock sacked by Palace

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e almost found a new way to lose, just when I thought it was getting boring Giroud does that. Although Arsenal are deservedly called 'soft' the entire midfield is out injured. Still must admit MU are managing to win despite a similar raft of absentees. Think the Gunners have good players but poorly coached.

gettalong
Wenger: Giroud deserved red

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