Pulis vows to keep 'swimming'

Tony Pulis is grateful for the patience and understanding of his chairman and the Stoke fans who are behind him.

Last Updated: 15/03/13 at 13:25 Post Comment

Pulis: Has come under pressure from some fans

Pulis: Has come under pressure from some fans

Tony Pulis will keep swimming against the tide, grateful for the patience and understanding of his chairman and those supporters who remain behind him.

The Stoke boss has come under pressure from sections of the Potters faithful after a run of games that has seen the side win only once in 10 Barclays Premier League games.

The atmosphere was particularly hostile after they lost at home to West Ham two weeks ago and last weekend's last-gasp defeat by Newcastle was Stoke's third in a row.

On Saturday they return to the Britannia Stadium for a high-pressure clash against local rivals West Brom, a team they have beaten nine times in the last 12 matches.

Pulis knows he will be in for an uncomfortable time if his side produce a poor performance but, after seeing Reading's Brian McDermott given the sack on Monday, he is not about to start feeling sorry for himself.

Pulis said: "I was very, very disappointed to see Brian get the sack this week.

"They won the Championship and then this year, nine games to go when he's got as good a chance as anybody at keeping them up, and he gets the sack. He's been a victim of his own success.

"It was so funny listening to (Brighton boss) Gus Poyet on Wednesday. Someone said, 'You've been put up for the Reading job', and he said, 'The Reading job? You're joking. I've learned from the Reading job, I'm not going to get Brighton promoted. I'd rather go between sixth and eighth position every year and then the expectations don't go too high, they don't go too low, then you're never under pressure'.

"It's a very fickle world and it's a world where there's not a lot of common sense used. But it's world that we live in and a world we have to work in.

"As a manager of a football club, if you're not winning games you have to expect criticism and you have to take it. I've been here a long time and I understand the way the game works and I understand the disappointment of a certain section of the supporters.

"I also understand that there's a lot of supporters who actually appreciate where we've come from and what we've achieved and will give you a bit of time.

"And they also understand that football ebbs and flows like life, you have good times and you have bad times.

"You swim with the tide when things are going well, and when it's not going so well and the tide turns, you have to swim against it. The important thing is to keep swimming."

Stoke's only away win this season came at The Hawthorns in December but the Potters will be aware of the strengths of on-loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku.

The 19-year-old has scored 13 goals this season, four in his last three games, and Stoke were one of a number of clubs who contacted Chelsea about him last summer.

It was former Chelsea assistant manager Steve Clarke, now in charge at West Brom, who secured the services of the Belgian, and Pulis said: "He's done fantastic.

"He was a good signing and he's certainly got better as the season's gone on. He's taken a bit of time to settle in.

"There were quite a few clubs interested in him. I think Steve's contacts with the people at Chelsea most probably got West Brom the player, which is always nice.

"I spoke to (Chelsea assistant first-team coach) Steve Holland but I think Steve had spoken to the hierarchy and West Brom had got in there nice and early."

Stoke will again be without defender Robert Huth, who serves the final game of a three-match ban, so the task of coping with Lukaku will fall to captain Ryan Shawcross and stand-in centre-back Marc Wilson.

Pulis said: "We've missed Robert anyway but Marc has done really well. He's shown his quality and he's a versatile player. Him and Ryan have got on well together.

"I thought he was outstanding against Newcastle. He certainly uses the ball well. It slows the game down and we kept possession a lot better because of that."

Pulis is also hoping winger Matthew Etherington will be fit after missing two games with a back problem while striker Cameron Jerome is likely only to be fit for the bench after picking up a knock to his knee at Newcastle.


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