Saturday, 8 December 2012

Tony Pulis Backs Paul Lambert To Beat The Boo-boys

Tony Pulis
Paul Lambert may have to dig into his pockets when he renews acquaintances with Tony Pulis.

For the Aston Villa boss owes his Stoke counterpart a chippy tea!

The pair caught up when their respective sides met in a reserve match at the beginning of the season at non-league Nantwich.

And Pulis treated the Scot to a meal from the local chip shop.

He remembered: “I phoned him up and asked him if he was going to the game, he said yes, so I said, ‘Come, I’ll buy you fish and chips.’

“So we did that and went off to watch the game. He owes me fish and chips now!

“And of course I paid for them!”

Pulis and Lambert may have had differing playing careers – the Stoke chief was a lower-league battler while Villa’s boss won the Champions League.

But their managerial paths have been similar, coming through the lower leagues before taking a side to the top flight.

And Pulis believes that will help his rival tough it out while trying to turn things around at Villa Park.

Pulis added: “I personally think you have an advantage if you’ve worked at a lower level because then you always appreciate where you’ve come from.

“But Paul is a very experienced lad in football terms and I think by using the younger lads, he’s put an identity on what he wants to do.

“I think, for me personally, when you go into football clubs, I think it’s lovely to see what managers do and the way they do it.

“They say, ‘Forget what anybody else says from outside, this is my template.’

“If it’s successful, that’s brilliant. If it’s not, at least he can say he’s given his best.”

One player Pulis has been pleasantly surprised by is Villa’s striker Christian Benteke, who appears to be a striker in the Stoke mould.

But the Potters chief admits he did not look at the Belgian, as he already has enough players like him.

He said: “We knew him but he wasn’t on the radar.

“But I think Benteke’s been a great signing for Paul, he looks like he’s going to get goals every game and he’s only going to get better.

“He’s only a young lad and will be a handful for us.”

One player who will not be a handful is Darren Bent, who continues to live life on the sidelines and he was linked with Stoke.

But Pulis insists he has to get a striker out before he can even think of bringing in the hitman.

He admitted: “Up front is one area we’re pretty strong, unless someone went then we couldn’t bring anyone in up front.

“Towards the back is where we’re looking.”

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