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.”