Europe a learning curve for Pulis

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Football News

Stoke boss Tony Pulis has vowed to learn from the experience, however his team fares in Europe this season.

The Potters get their Europa League Group E campaign under way in Ukraine with a clash against Dynamo Kiev at the Valeriy Lobanovskiy Stadium. The Staffordshire outfit are taking part in a major European competition for the first time in 37 years, while Pulis is making his continental coaching debut.

Having won all four of their qualifying games to reach the group stage, Stoke appear to have had no trouble adapting, but Pulis maintains he and his players are very much venturing into the unknown and must continue to take every lesson on board. "I am diving into a pool of water I am not used to so I am going to have to learn as we go along," he said.

"I am as naive as everyone else at this club. I'm not saying I'm a genius at this and that. I'm looking forward to it. I'll make mistakes, but I'll certainly have my eyes open and learn from it."

Pulis insists Stoke are relishing the challenge that lies ahead, despite their "horrendous" travel schedule. After Thursday's match, the Potters also face trips to Israel to play Maccabi Tel Aviv and Turkey to take on Besiktas.

That will require them to clock up far more miles than Pulis would like, but the Welshman is determined the club will embrace the task of balancing European action with their domestic commitments.

"Someone asked me if I'm excited about being in Europe. I don't think we are in Europe if you look at the teams we are playing!" Pulis said.

"We are in Ukraine, Israel and Turkey. We got the short straw and the travelling distances are horrendous but we are looking forward to it. We have to manage the squad. There were some good players not in the team on Saturday (against Liverpool) who will get a chance to show what they can do.

"We play Kiev, Sunderland on Sunday, Tottenham on Tuesday (in the Carling Cup) and Manchester United on Saturday; it's not a bad run of games but it is a big call for the next couple of weeks. It is what everyone aspires to and we have to cope with it, but it is new to us."

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