Saturday, 31 December 2011

Pulis Fears He Has Created A Monster At Stoke

Tony Pulis fears he has created a monster by giving Stoke fans the success they craved.

The Potters endured a bleak three decades with only a couple of minor trophies to cheer about until Pulis returned to the club in 2006.

But since then they have earned promotion to the Premier League and a spot in the FA Cup final last May.

And the success is continuing with Stoke the only English side to come through the Europa League groups, managing to do so whilst holding down a top eight spot in the league.

That kind of run has got Potters fans dreaming of slugging it out with the big guns - a notion Pulis is desperate to shoot down.

He said: ``The level of expectation is the problem. It's about managing expectation right now.

``It gets to a point where you take the club to a level where it far exceeds what we should be achieving.

``Then it is a case of managing the expectations because success gets more and more difficult.

``We know it is very difficult to force our way into the top six. What we have done this season is remarkable.

``We have reached a level of achievement that brings respect but the biggest problem is keeping the supporters happy and recognising where we are.

``We know where we want to be. We know our limitations. We know what we want to achieve, year on year.

``The biggest thing for the club is retaining its Premier League place and doing well in a cup competition, as well as building a solid Academy.''

Stoke's ability to avoid dipping into a relegation battle is all the more remarkable in Pulis' eyes because of the toll their Europa League exploits has taken on his squad.

He said: ``We have played more three games weeks than most of the other clubs, and those three game weeks have come with some big journeys as well.

``We have travelled over 10,000 miles in our European campaign.

``But we have to keep pushing on. We have to get better players in when the opportunity arises.''

Whilst his fans are aiming for the stars, Pulis is pointing to today's opponents Wigan warning to Stoke supporters not to get ahead of themselves.

They have spent six full years in the top flight but continue to flirt with relegation.

He added: ``We have to be careful to remind people of what we have done. We have been in the Premier League for three years and there are a lot of bigger clubs than us who get carried away and fall by the wayside.''

But Roberto Martinez's men are being tipped to escape their nightmare fight at the wrong end of the table.

Pulis added: ``Roberto has a good side there. He has his principles and sticks to them and that has served him well.

``I'm not surprised they've been on a good run. He has some great players there with the likes of James McCarthy and Mohammed Diame.''


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