Pulis laughs off Stoke critics

Pulis will certainly enjoy his Christmas this year, with Stoke
eighth in the Premier League in their fourth year back in the top
flight, and also in the last 32 of the Europa League having been
the only British club to progress beyond the group stage. The
Potters still come in for criticism from certain areas, most
recently because of their use of towels, but it is water off a
duck’s back to Pulis. “Most of it just makes me laugh,” he said in
an interview with the Daily Mail. “Manchester City have one of the
biggest pitches in the league and the grass is half an inch shorter
than ours. They also have the best players and the biggest budget.
Everything they want. We go there and we give it our best shot and
we don’t complain when we lose. “But then teams come to the
Britannia and our grass is half an inch longer, the pitch is within
regulation but smaller and they moan if they lose. That pitch is
the same size as the one Arsenal played on for 120-odd years at
Highbury. The same as Goodison Park. “Our fans are great. Arsene
Wenger called us a rugby team and our fans now sing ‘Swing Lo,
Sweet Chariot’ when we play Arsenal. And this thing about towels is
ludicrous. They all wear undershirts and a couple of the lads have
had them cut because they rub under the armpits. It might look like
a towel but I can assure you it’s not While Wenger has been one of
the most vocal critics of Stoke’s in previous years, Pulis has no
personal problem with anyone giving their opinion on the club. “In
life you do the best you can with what you’ve got,” he explained.
“I’ve got no gripes with what people say. I get annoyed if other
clubs criticise us as a club, but personally I try not to let it
affect me. “I can’t affect what Wenger thinks so I don’t worry
about it. “We all need to stop worrying about things we can’t
affect. We worry ourselves into our graves.” One thing Stoke have
been credited for is their positive attitude towards the Europa
League, with the Potters proving that a club of their stature can
compete successfully on two fronts. “I actually think some of our
players were looking forward more to playing in Europe than in the
Premier League, because it was fresh and new,” Pulis said. “We’ve
embraced it, I’ve enjoyed it, and the Britannia on a Thursday night
can be amazing. “We just want to give it a good crack. We need to
make sure we stay in the Premier League but we like to give the cup
competitions a good go too.” Pulis also recognises that playing in
Europe has allowed Stoke to attract better players to the club.
Pulis does not believe he would have been able to sign such
high-profile names as Peter Crouch, Jonathan Woodgate and Matthew
Upson without the lure of European football, and he has been
impressed by the way his new men have settled in. “I think the
biggest thing was getting to the Cup final and into Europe,” he
said. “We felt it gave us a better chance of selling the club to
one or two bigger name players. “At the same time, though, I think
there’s a respect for what we’ve done and the way we’ve done it.
“When it came to speaking to players like Crouch, Woodgate and
Upson, they recognised the fact that we have progressed gradually
year after year. “Signing Crouchy was a real statement of intent,
and he’s not let us down. He’s been absolutely fantastic. “All the
lads who have come in have been fantastic. On and off the pitch.
“They’ve embraced the club, bought into what we’re about. It’s
given everyone a lift because the players who were here already
enjoy working with good new players too.”