Pulis piles praise on Crouch

BY foxsports • September 30, 2011

Crouch, recruited from Tottenham for £10million, followed up his equaliser in the 1-1 Premier League draw with Manchester United on Saturday by netting another on Thursday night as the Potters came from behind to beat Besiktas 2-1 in the Europa League. The fact that it was the 30-year-old's 27th goal in 51 games in UEFA club competitions demonstrates the calibre of player Stoke have landed, but Pulis says there has been no hint of ego from his star forward and praised his all-round performance. Asked about Crouch's scoring statistics, Pulis said: "It's great for Peter and it's great for us, although the big thing was the way he worked off the ball and the way he defended their crosses. "Their set-plays were very good and Crouchy was fantastic defending them. "The players have really taken to him and he is a great lad in the dressing room. "Given what Peter has done in his career, to come and join in and be part of what we've got, and be as humble as he has been, is fantastic. "I have to say the likes of (fellow summer signings) Jonathan Woodgate, Matthew Upson and Cameron Jerome have been exactly the same. "They have all really bedded in because they have just bought into what we are trying to do, and long may it continue." The win over Besiktas at the Britannia Stadium saw Stoke rise to the top of Europa League Group E and means they go into Sunday's Premier League trip to Swansea having lost just once in 13 games in all competitions so far this season. The Turkish visitors went ahead just before the quarter-hour mark when Roberto Hilbert struck into the far corner having latched on to Ricardo Quaresma's pass, but their lead lasted only a minute, goalkeeper Rustu Recber unable to claim Dean Whitehead's corner and Crouch on hand to bundle the ball over the line. The two sides, roared on by their equally-vociferous sets of fans, played out an entertaining contest from there, with both hitting the woodwork. Substitute Jon Walters then settled things in the 78th minute, hammering a penalty past Rustu after Crouch had been brought down by Tomas Sivok to secure a result which leaves the Potters - who drew 1-1 away against Dynamo Kiev a fortnight ago - on four points after two rounds of group matches. Pulis feels home victories will be key if the Staffordshire side are to progress in the tournament, something echoed by their Danish stopper Thomas Sorensen. "It's a big win for us, for sure," Sorensen told stokecityfc.com. "We have targeted the games here at the Britannia Stadium as matches where we want to get three points, and we feel if we are to qualify then we are going to have to win our home games. "We had the confidence that we could do it against Besiktas having already played well and beaten some very good teams here this season, but to actually get that win on the board in our first home game of this stage is very pleasing for us. "It definitely puts us in a good position now, and it will give us even more confidence going in to the rest of the games in the group. "It wasn't easy, though - they are a very good side and they showed it. "But we did well and in the second half I thought we looked like the only side who would win the game."

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