Pulis cautious despite progress

BY foxsports • November 19, 2010

The last week has shown how quickly fortunes can change in the top flight as just over a week ago the Potters were staring at a record-breaking sixth-successive defeat. They prevented that by overcoming Birmingham and then went one better by beating Liverpool at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday. Now they are looking at a third Premier League win in a row - something they have never done before - as they travel to face West Brom on Saturday. Pulis believes the 2-0 result against Liverpool, a deserved win for the Potters, gave an example of how much the team have progressed. They have built on their defensive organisation this season to add a more attacking edge with wingers Matt Etherington and Jermaine Pennant. It is a key aspect which the Potters boss feels shows they are starting to feel at home in the top flight. But he was keen to stress to his squad that they have not made it yet. "Everyone was talking about five straight defeats last week, that's how quickly things turn around," said the Stoke boss. "The Liverpool result has to go up with one of the great days at the Britannia. "To play the way we did should give everyone great heart and the players are very excited by the fact we have ended up playing so well against Liverpool. "We have become a little bit more expansive this season, playing with two wingers, and trying to put a bit more pressure on the opposition. "As you progress and get a little bit more dynamic going forward you still have to find the balance where you are winning games and that means being strong at the back. "The aim is to have these attacking players in the team and have the threat but also to be as solid as you possibly can defensively. "It is getting the players to recognise and understand that when you have the talent we have on the pitch they have to be a bit more cautious about what they are doing and being brighter defensively. "We have to make sure we stay as solid as we can and when we get the opportunity to play we play. "The most important thing is not to get too carried away and keep our feet on the ground, ensuring the players don't get too above their station." Stoke have a great record against West Brom, losing just one of their last 25 league fixtures, but it will be the first time Pulis has come up against Baggies boss Roberto Di Matteo. The pair's backgrounds could not be more different, with Pulis spending 16 years working in the Football League before earning the chance to manage in the top flight. Di Matteo had one year with MK Dons before getting his big break with West Brom and guiding them to promotion in his first season. Pulis feels the Italian's big-name reputation, having played for Chelsea for six years, undoubtedly helped his progress. "It was a great job at the time to get and he has got them promoted, so he has probably got 10 out of 10 from his chairman at the moment," he added. "I'm all for managers starting at the bottom of the league and working through it; it is a great education for everyone and makes you appreciate the job you have got. "Roberto was a great player and if you are a big name you have more of a chance of getting a big job. "For the likes of myself and Olly (Blackpool's Ian Holloway) you have to work very hard to get to the top of the tree. "It is the same in life. Sometimes it is a case of not what you know but who you know. "The fact they have been great players doesn't mean they will be great managers and some have gone on and done things and some haven't. "It is the law of the jungle, it is something you have to overcome and get on with it."