Pulis senses lift in Stoke spirits

Tony Pulis praised Stoke fans for creating a "very positive feeling" during their goalless draw with West Brom.

Last Updated: 17/03/13 at 15:22 Post Comment

Pulis: Watched his side draw 0-0 with West Brom

Pulis: Watched his side draw 0-0 with West Brom

Stoke manager Tony Pulis praised the club's fans for creating a "very positive feeling" around the Britannia Stadium during Saturday's 0-0 Barclays Premier League draw with West Brom.

The Potters went into the Albion contest off the back of three straight defeats and having suffered a total of seven losses in their last nine top-flight fixtures.

The discontent among Stoke supporters had been clear from the boos that came from the stands at the previous home match, a 1-0 defeat to West Ham on March 2.

Pulis has stressed the importance of the crowd - even if they are criticising him - giving their backing to the players, and was delighted with the level of support yesterday.

Pulis, whose team moved up to 10th, said: "We played very well at Newcastle last week (in a 2-1 defeat) and two outstanding goals cost us the game, which was disappointing.

"But I thought the response from the crowd was brilliant (in the West Brom match).

"There has been a lot of people moaning and groaning, or so I have been told, but they turned up and right from the first whistle to the last there was a very positive feeling around the ground, and that was very good for the players.

"It has been seven years that we have been pushing on, and you get good times and you get bad times.

"What you need when things are not going very well is people to support you and get behind you, and they were fantastic on the terraces."

Those who were watching yesterday's match did not get much in the way of entertainment.

After West Brom captain Chris Brunt had a fifth-minute strike saved by Asmir Begovic in a fairly bright start for the visitors, Stoke were the better side for the remainder of the first half.

But they struggled to create any real clear-cut opportunities, with a deflected Jon Walters shot that spun wide being their closest attempt.

The standard improved slightly after the break, but neither side looked likely to break the deadlock as Baggies frontman Romelu Lukaku and Stoke's Peter Crouch failed to convert headers, before Potters substitute Kenwyne Jones passed up a good chance in stoppage time by prodding straight at Ben Foster.

Foster has returned to the England squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifying double-header against San Marino and Montenegro, almost two years after making himself unavailable for national team selection.

And although the goalkeeper was largely untroubled yesterday, West Brom boss Steve Clarke felt he performed well in a good all-round defensive display from his side, who are eighth in the table.

"After Ben came back (in December) from the second groin operation he had, it took him three or four weeks to get himself up to speed, but I think since then his performances have been top-level," Clarke said.

"He has made himself available for England, which can only be good news for them.

"In difficult conditions, particularly in the last 15 minutes when I think somebody was trying to tell us something, his handling was excellent. But the team in front of him defended well.

"I think he is another key element of a good defensive unit.

"I thought the four defenders were outstanding, Claudio Yacob in front of them gave good cover and the more attacking players did their jobs defensively."

Asked if he considered Foster to be a genuine challenger to England's first-choice goalkeeper Joe Hart, rather than just a back-up, Clarke said: "That is for (England head coach) Roy Hodgson for decide - all Ben can do is what he has done.

"He made himself available and he is a really good goalkeeper. It is good for England that they have good competition for places."

Clarke confirmed that Albion midfielder Graham Dorrans, missing from the squad yesterday, had sustained a calf strain but said he expected him to still link up with the Scotland squad.

Clarke said: "I wouldn't expect him to be involved in the first game (against Wales on Friday), but I think he has an outside chance of being involved in Scotland's second game (in Serbia the following Tuesday), which means he should be available for us at West Ham (on March 30)."

Meanwhile, Pulis revealed that Stoke's Republic of Ireland midfielder Glenn Whelan had had to come off at half-time due to an ankle injury.


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week


Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

S

till reckon Chelsea will go for Khedira as back up for Matic. I think it will turn out to be quite a Mourihno-y window: We'll see the squad players and youth in action pre-season, say things like well, we need not buy anybody and then the club will bid £60m for Pogba and send everybody on loan.

tk421
F365's Transfer Guide - Part One

I

would love to be a fly on the wall at the meeting between Milner and Rodgers. I don't know if flies can count, but if they can then I would be counting the number of times Rodgers used the word outstanding in his attempts to get Milner to sign.

godzilla
Reds and Arsenal chase Milner

W

ell, it wouldn't be a summer without Arsenal fans fretting over losing a key player, and United throwing their weight around and muscling in on transfer deals which are (apparently) near to completion. If we can't be entertained by the football on the pitch, let's enjoy the silly off-pitch soap opera of the transfer season. Hurrah!

CamberleyGooner
The Back To It Gossip

Footer 365

Arsenal in talks with Higuain - Report

Arsenal have begun talks with Napoli striker Gonzalo Higauin with an aim to bringing the Argentine to north London, according to reports in Italy.

Gundogan yet to make decision on future

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan could yet join Manchester United this summer, according to a report from Germany.

Liverpool close in on Milner - Report

Want-away Man City midfielder James Milner could be announced as a Liverpool player by the end of the week, according to reports.

Mail Box

Calling Carlo For Liverpool... Please

One Liverpool Mailer wants a manager who isn't starstruck by the job. Plus why Milner has now become overrated, play-offs for the title, Ronaldinho and democracy..

James Milner: Jose's Perfect Player?

Probably. But presumably he would not swap one bench for another. We have mails on over-hyped players, Arsenal enthusiasm, UEFA, FIFA and naked dudes...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company