Saturday 20 January 2018

Pulis targets Stoke revival

Tony Pulis is under pressure after three successive defeats
Tony Pulis is under pressure after three successive defeats

Tony Pulis hopes the arrival of West Brom at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday will herald a change in fortunes for Stoke.

The Potters have only one win in 10 Barclays Premier League games, with last weekend's last-gasp 2-1 defeat at Newcastle their third loss in succession. There have been rumblings of discontent from sections of the Stoke fans despite their side sitting 11th in the table, but if there is anything to bring optimism to a Potters supporter it is a game against West Brom.

Stoke have won nine of their last 12 games against the Baggies and their sole away victory this season came at The Hawthorns in December. Pulis said: "We just haven't had the breaks. We seem either to shoot ourselves in the foot or things happen during the game that on another day could go for you."

He added: "We played at West Ham earlier in the season, Steven Nzonzi hit the underside of the bar and it came out; on Sunday at Newcastle, (Yohan) Cabaye hits the underside of the bar and it goes in.

"There's such fine dividing lines between getting results and not getting results. The great thing about it is, if you actually look at the performance, that's as well as we've played for a long time.

"It's disappointing we haven't got the result, even (Newcastle boss) Alan (Pardew) admitted afterwards they were a bit fortunate. We've got a group of players who go out there every week and do their best and that's all you can ask for. We need a couple of breaks."

"We always beat West Brom" is a favourite Stoke chant, but Pulis knows the record could work both ways given the frustrated mood at the Britannia.

The Baggies' only win in the last 12 games between the clubs came at Stoke last season, and Pulis said: "Our record's brilliant but that was the past. Saturday's another game. It does bring pressure in lots of respects but we'll just keep our fingers crossed that it continues.

"We spoke about the confidence in the group last week and they should be confident. We're 11th in the Premier League, irrespective of what people are saying.

"We've been on a bad run but, if we can get back to what we were doing on our great run, then we can end up having a great end of the season and that's the way you've got to think. There's enough people out there thinking negative so within the group you have to stay positive."

Press Association

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