Tony Pulis quick to point to Stoke’s successes

Tony Pulis hit back at his critics after Stoke's Premier League victory over Norwich by insisting these are good times for the Potters.

The experienced manager has had to deflect fresh criticism in recent weeks from sections of his own club's fans for an uncompromising style of play. Pulis, however, believes success at home and abroad should indicate how far Stoke have come under his stewardship.

'We're on our way to Premier League safety. Another four points from our remaining games will do it which would make it another great season for this football club when you consider we got to the last 32 in the Europa League and have reached the quarter finals of the FA Cup,' he said 'This was our 44th game of the season, all of them against top quality opposition. People perhaps don't appreciate that. We've had a really busy season against top clubs. We go to Liverpool in the FA Cup and that is our fourth away game in the competition. We haven't played at the Britannia yet.

'It takes its toll. It can be draining. We're sitting mid-table in the Premier League, we had a great run in Europe and we have a chance to go to one of the great arenas of English football and give them a run for their money in the FA Cup.

'If you include the fact that we won at Crawley with 10 men, that's three wins in domestic competition now in which we have kept clean sheets.'

Matthew Etherington's angled lash sunk the Canaries and Pulis hopes the injection of confidence can boost his inconsistent wide player for the league and cup run-in.

'Matty goes up and down a little bit at times, which is mostly due to his confidence, but there were signs that he was back to his best today and the goal will do him a world of good,' he said. 'He's a top, top player who can cause problems for anybody when he is on top of his game, so let's hope we see that from in the weeks ahead.

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'He had an opportunity a few moments before the goal when I thought he should have had a shot from long range, but I think he caught (John) Ruddy out when he did score. The keeper was probably expecting him to pull it back into the box.'

Pulis stated during the pre-match build-up he felt Norwich are closing in on Premier League survival and that view remained unaltered after a gruelling 90 minutes at the Britannia Stadium.

'What Paul (Lambert) has achieved at Norwich is pretty remarkable,' he said. 'To get promoted out of the third tier and to have the number of points they have got at this stage of the season is absolutely fantastic. Certain managers don't get the credit they deserve.

'He does, without a question of a doubt, and that football club deserves a lot of credit as well. They are a top football side. It is really pleasing for them as a club that they have done so well.

'We got our heads down and worked tremendously hard because Norwich are a good side who made it difficult for us.

'It's a big win in that we have some tough games coming up. Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City, they roll off the lips.'

Pulis conceded Norwich may have had a case over the contentious throw-in awarded to his side which led to Etherington's match-winner.

'I haven't seen it again but if that is right then we have got a little bit of luck - which I felt we deserved,' he said. 'I thought we were the team trying to go forward and win it.

'Ruddy made some good saves. Especially the one from Peter (Crouch), first half, but we put a lot of pressure on at times without that many opportunities as we would have liked.

'It was the fourth game we have played when they sat an extra midfielder in and made it really, really difficult for us.

'I thought we deserved to win this one because we went for it from the word go and we were the team trying to win the game.'

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