Tony Pulis believes Stoke City will survive the season
Stoke City manager Tony Pulis refused to discuss the reasons behind Stoke City’s abysmal form in the second half of the season for the second successive season. Tony Pulis insists his side is still focused towards recording the best achievable results.
The Britannia Stadium boss is in battle to avoid the first relegation of his managerial career. With only six games remaining in their season, Stoke City are only three points away from entering the relegation zone.
Stoke City suffered a demoralizing 3-1 home defeat against Aston Villa on Saturday. Aston Villa led the game through an early goal from Gabriel Agbonlahor, but the lead was cancelled out with Michael Kightly’s 80th minute equalizer.
However, Aston Villa went home with the spoil of victory as Mathew Lowton and Christian Benteke scored in the final minutes of the game to pull the Lions out of the relegation party.
Stoke City are now placed 15th on the Premier League table with Manchester United up for a visit next Sunday.
“There are certain reasons but this isn't the time to make excuses,” said Tony Pulis admitting his side was in a slump of form. “This is the time when we stick together and get on with it.
“We had a good chat at half-time, and I spoke about confidence and togetherness. I thought we came out for the second half better but we looked a bit open. We're not usually open at our place. We usually make it a very tight compact game.”
Stoke City midfielder Ryan Shotton received shots of negative reactions from the home crowd when he was replaced with Charlie Adam. Uncharacteristically, Stoke City’s defense was put under scrutiny at the end of the game once again.
“'Shots' is a local lad,” said Tony Pulis talking about his players and supporters. “He has had stick ever since he got in the team. Andy Wilkinson's a local lad too and they love him.
“You can't legislate for the crowd liking you, disliking you, having a moan or cheering. They pay their money, they have a right to express their opinions. It's always my theory that if they're part of it, they're part of it. You have to accept it.”
The substitutions of Charlie Adam and Cameron Jerome allowed Stoke City to spark a comeback, but their rejuvenation was short-lived by Aston Villa’s superb response.
“Charlie sparked a bit of life. So did Cameron Jerome,” Tony Pulis added. “They were two good subs but what we need is a break - not Lowton scoring the goal of the season. We have to keep working hard and believe. As a manager, I'll keep fighting on.
“This was the first time I'd seen a confidence problem, after Villa had scored. Whether that was just because it came out of the blue and was a soft goal, I don't know. I thought we were better in the second half. When we got the goal, it brought the crowd up a level - then Lowton does that.”