Stoke City provide a Premier League blueprint for Norwich City

Norwich City assistant boss Ian Culverhouse believes weekend opponents Stoke are the perfect Premier League role model ahead of Sunday's Carrow Road home opener.

Tony Pulis has guided Stoke into European competition for the first time in nearly three decades at the start of a fourth consecutive top flight campaign and Culverhouse insists the Potters can be an inspiration for all the new boys.

'They are an established team and a model we have to look towards to try and emulate,' he said. 'For the simple reason that they have stayed in this league and that is what it is all about for this football club – to stay in this league for as long as possible and to continually grow.

'You look at the Manchester City game the other night and the quality they showed was frightening, but it's like Brendan Rodgers said, 'We are in it, we are going to give it our best shot and lets see where it takes us.'

'It was a good point for us at Wigan. We were a little bit disappointed perhaps how we performed as a club because we know we can do better, but for the first game anywhere away from home if you can pick up points and make sure our home form is spot on then we have got a chance.'

Culverhouse took charge of a City reserve side featuring new signing Dani Ayala in Tuesday night's goalless draw against Blackburn's second string.

Paul Lambert's number two believes the Spaniard brings undoubted Premier League quality following his Liverpool switch.

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'He is a ball-playing centre half and that is what we need– someone who is comfortable on the ball because you have to retain possession well,' he said.

'What we liked about him in the game is that every time he had a little bit of space in front of him he drove with the ball into that space, which just opens things up for us. He was a massive plus.

'He has got to come in and hit the ground running. There isn't that time for the new ones to bed in as such but I thought he looked very accomplished. I would say the same about Ritchie (De Laet) who grew into the game on Saturday after his mistake.

'He was a colossus towards the end when we were hanging on a bit and he threw his body on the line in numerous occasions. We have to have defenders willing to do that.'

City fielded a strong reserve line- up which featured a clutch of senior players not involved at Wigan alongside Ayala. Culverhouse admitted competition for Premier League places is fierce.

'You see a lot of the bigger teams now because of the size of the squad they do a lot of rotation and things like that,' he said.

'I don't think we'll do that here but we have to use the squad to the maximum benefit. We soon have to announce the 25 man list and everyone in that 25 man squad and the younger ones below it will get a chance in this league.

'It is tough, of course, if you have lads who perhaps haven't played on the Saturday but that is where the manager does well.

'He is so good at the man-management side of things and he explains things and he has already told them that it is going to take every single one of them at this football club to make us stay in this league. They are really clear on what we need.'