McLeish deserves time – Pulis

Villa have had a mixed campaign to date and sit 12th in the Premier

League ahead of their Boxing Day trip to the Britannia Stadium.

McLeish is still to win over a significant proportion of Villa fans

having defected from cross-city rivals Birmingham in the summer but

Pulis feels they must show patience towards the former Scotland and

Rangers boss. “I have got a lot of respect for Alex,” he said. “It

is a great job but it’s a tough job and he has gone there from

their rivals. It’s never easy doing that. “But have a look at his

record, when he was up in Scotland and when he came down here. It’s

first class. “Just give him time and patience. They’re two very

difficult words to stick to in football but he needs time, like we

all do. “He needs to time to put his mark and his stamp on the

football club. “Give him a couple of years and I am sure that club

will be a strong, vibrant, successful club. You just can’t turn it

round overnight.” Stoke are five points better off than Villa in

eighth and, by their standards, have made a brilliant start to the

season. They did have an indifferent spell from mid-October to

mid-November but prior to their midweek loss at leaders Manchester

City they had won four in succession and have also reached the

Europa League last 32. Because of that McLeish has labelled Stoke

the favourites ahead of Monday’s clash – but Pulis is not accepting

it. He said: “Managers talk so much blarney! “Alex is a manager and

I’m a manager. You try to take pressure off your own club and your

own players when you go into games, so I won’t be taking any notice

of Alex. “They have got great players and we are expecting a really

tough game. “He has got to do what he has got to do and I have got

to do what I’ve got to do – but I’ll have a drink waiting for him

after the game irrespective of the result. “Our supporters will be

looking forward to it and it is not far for the Villa supporters to

travel, so it will be a great game I am sure. “We are just hoping

we get that little bit of luck you need to win football matches at

this level.” Pulis has no intention of resting on his laurels and

believes his team still have much to do to ensure they do not get

pulled into a relegation battle. The Potters are in their fourth

season back in the top flight and have avoided the drop with

comfort each time so far. They now want to push on and establish

themselves in the top half but Pulis insists safety is still top

priority. He said: “Every game that we play we look at and respect

it, in respect of the of the points we need to gain to get us to

safety. “Our aim, and people may laugh and mock, is to get safe as

quickly as we possibly can. That is so important for the football

club, staying in the Premier League. “What we are doing in Europe

is just a bonus for us. The Premier League is our bread and

butter.”