Pulis rues missed opportunities

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Football News

Stoke boss Tony Pulis admitted he was disappointed his side could only come away with a 1-0 win after dominating Hajduk Split for much of Thursday evening's Europa League third qualifying round first leg at the Britannia Stadium.

The Potters, playing in major European competition for the first time in 37 years, took the lead in the third minute when Jon Walters was allowed space to nod in Matthew Etherington's measured cross. The hosts controlled the match for long spells thereafter and particularly in the first half, had several chances to extend their lead.

"It was a great atmosphere and we won the game, but we were disappointed we didn't win it by more goals, especially given the first half. We had enough opportunities and chances to come in more than 1-0 up," Pulis said.

"But we've kept the clean sheet, which is important. We'll go to Split and if we score a goal, they will have to score three to beat us. It was a fantastic start and our sloppiest period was 10 or 15 minutes after we scored.

"Then we picked it up for the last 20 minutes of the first half and we could have scored three or four goals. It would have been no embarrassment to us if we had come in two or three up."

With still more than two weeks to go before the start of the Barclays Premier League season, it came as little surprise that Stoke looked increasingly weary as the game went on.

Pulis fielded a strong starting team and plans to do so again in next Thursday's return leg in Croatia - although he hopes he might have one or two more players to call on by that stage.

"We tired in the second half. There were four or five who really tired, including the wide players (Etherington and Jermaine Pennant) and Kenwyne Jones," said Pulis.

"At the moment with the injuries we have got and the fact that we haven't been able to bring anybody in, you are looking over at the bench and there wasn't a lot that we could have changed.

"Another time, if it had fallen right for us, we could have had (Achilles injury victim) Ricardo Fuller to bring on for 20 minutes and really livened the place up. We are looking to bring more players in and if we can do that, then brilliant."

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Jermaine Pennant
Europa League
Stoke City
Kenwyne Jones
Premier League
Matthew Etherington
Ricardo Fuller

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