STOKE CITY’S squad began the journey home from a successful tour of the United States . . . with praise ringing in their ears from manager Tony Pulis.
City’s manager was delighted with the attitude and application of his players, both throughout the 11-day trip to the States and the week in Switzerland.
The Potters ended the tour of the USA with a 1-1 draw against Sporting Kansas City, but only after a bizarre injury-time goal denied them a deserved victory.
Despite scorching temperatures, City enjoyed by far the better of the game and had they taken some excellent chances, they would have won comfortably.
But as Pulis stated in reflecting on the tour, and indeed the past three weeks: “It’s not about winning and losing, it’s about the effort and commitment of the players.
“We’ve had a tough eleven days, and they’ve worked really hard throughout that time. In fact, they’ve been brilliant over three weeks since we went to Switzerland.
“In that time, they’ve had one day at home in between the two trips, but they’ve got their heads down and their attitude and application has been fantastic.
“They’re looking forward now to getting home to their wives, loved ones and families, and so am I as well, even if it is only for a brief time before we’re off again.”
Pulis’ squad have been given the warmest of welcomes in all three destinations over the past eleven days – Columbus, Orlando and finally Kansas City.
That has made it even more successful from the manager’s point of view as the Club takes another step forward since it was promoted to the Premier League.
“It’s very important as a Football Club that we try and experience as much as we can, and coming out here has been a new experience for us,” he stressed.
“It’s like playing in Europe and all the other things we have done since the Coates family returned to the Club. This is something we’ve never done before.
“The people in America have embraced us and made us feel so welcome. They just couldn’t do enough for us at times and that has helped us to achieve what we set out to do in making this trip an important part of our pre-season preparations.”