Stoke City chairman Peter Coates hopes the club’s brush with relegation has been a warning to players to not take their Premier League status for granted.
Manager Tony Pulis’ future is still up in the air, despite leading the team to successive victories against Norwich City and Queens Park Rangers.
Coates admitted that Stoke’s form after Christmas had been a big concern but believed they were just a point or two off safety, with three matches remaining.
He told ESPN: “We’ve had a very flat second half to the season and nobody is trying to hide from that. You are always trying to learn from such things to try and improve.”
The Potters looked under no immediate threat by the end of 2012 but a shocking return of just five points from fourteen matches drew them exceedingly close to the jaws of the drop zone.
But the Stoke owner – who saw his club plummet to just three points clear of the relegation zone before their recent wins – was confident they would again be playing top-flight football next season.
“I know it is not mathematically guaranteed, but we are obviously delighted to be in the position we are in after two good wins,” he said. “I was very anxious and very nervous.”
“We deserved to win both games and it was a great relief because we haven’t been in that position for a long time.”
Despite wide speculation about Pulis’ continued tenure, Coates has refused to comment on the matter while this campaign is still in progress.
“The season is far from over because we have three games left and we want to finish as high as we can,” he declared.
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