Football

Pulis won't be distracted

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Stoke manager Tony Pulis insists his club's bid to become an established club in the Barclays Premier League will remain on course irrespective of negative headlines and bad publicity.

In the last three months the Potters boss has had to deal with two separate dressing room leaks, the fall-out from defender Ryan Shawcross' leg-breaking tackle on Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey and players openly showing their frustrations towards him on the pitch. The latest incident saw reports emerge of a changing room bust-up between captain Abdoulaye Faye and midfielder Glen Whelan in Sunday's 7-0 defeat at Chelsea.

"They (incidents) can be damaging if you don't have such a solid base and foundation within the group and club," said Pulis. "If it was at another football club where things weren't as solid it could cause you serious trouble and damage."

He added: "I've been involved before in situations where one or two players have let the group down but it doesn't affect us because this group is so solid.

"This club has been built on togetherness from the boardroom, through the management staff, to the players to the supporters and that is the way we will remain. That togetherness takes you onto the field and takes you through hard times."

Pulis is two-thirds of the way through a three-year plan which he feels will allow Stoke's status to grow. The disruptive elements within the squad will be moved on in the summer and new players who match the club's ethos brought in.

"Over the last four years what we have achieved is pretty remarkable," he said. "We finished 12th last season and got to the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup but this season we're in a position to actually better that.

"To get to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, having beaten Arsenal and Manchester City, it has been a great season and people have to recognise that.

"If you look at the club I think we are the only ones in the Premier League who are debt-free, we are building a new training ground next season, which will be absolutely fantastic, and everything is in place.

"We have a local chairman (Peter Coates) and family who have put enormous amounts into the club and love the club and we are very lucky."

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Topics:
Arsenal
Stoke City
Aaron Ramsey
Football
Manchester City
League Cup
Chelsea
Ryan Shawcross
Premier League
Abdoulaye Faye
FA Cup
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