Football

Pulis: Focus must be on pitch

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Stoke manager Tony Pulis has wrapped his team in cotton wool ahead of Saturday's "huge" relegation battle against Newcastle.

Pulis has banned his players from speaking to the press and rested them up in preparation for a game which could all but secure their Barclays Premier League survival.

"It's absolutely vital that our players concentrate 100% on the match and are kept away from any outside influences," he said.

"I'm determined to guard them from all the media hype and everything else that's quite understandably connected with Newcastle and Alan Shearer.

"It's a massive, massive game for both clubs and all the rigmarole that is bound to come with Alan and Newcastle could be a distraction.

"They are an enormous club and the spotlight will be on them, but all we need to be concerned about is Stoke City."

Pulis scoffed at suggestions his team are favourites for the game which, if Stoke win, would leave Newcastle in a perilous position.

He said: "We are the underdogs, there is no doubt about that in my eyes. I find it bizarre that a team like Newcastle are fighting a relegation battle at this stage of the season.

"They have got fantastic players all through the team and there is no way they should be in the position they are in."

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Topics:
Stoke City
Football
Premier League
Alan Shearer

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