TONY PULIS believes that Stoke City’s storming fightback after the shock of going a goal down so early in the 3-1 victory over Liverpool typified the spirit and commitment which has been a hallmark of the Club’s success in recent years.
Pulis’ side were stunned by falling behind to a Steven Gerrard penalty inside two minutes of the live televised encounter, but were in front themselves ten minutes later as first Jonathan Walters and then Kenwyne Jones struck in a dramatic turnaround.
When Walters added his second of the night within four minutes of the restart, City were on their way to the most convincing Premier League win for thirteen months and their third successive League victory over Liverpool at the Britannia Stadium.
“The response of the players after going a goal down so early in the game was absolutely fabulous,” commented a proud City manager after the triumph.
“We never stopped, we just kept going and going. They deserve a lot of credit, but that really epitomises what we are all about at this Football Club.
“What was particularly pleasing about this performance is that we really pressed them all over the pitch which is what we had worked hard on before the game.”
He added: “It’s a fantastic result for us and I am really pleased for the players, but the funny thing is that I think we’ve created more opportunities in other games this season and not got the reward, whereas luckily when we got the chances, we stuck them away.”
Pulis was delighted for strike pair Walters and Jones, who proved to be a handful for the Liverpool defence as they engineered the remarkable response.
“Walts took his goals very well, while Kenwyne has done smashing again,” he said. “Crouchy is chomping at the bit to get back in the side, but if Kenwyne keeps playing the way he is playing at the moment, it is extremely difficult to leave him out.
“If he plays to his maximum all the time, he is as much of a handful as any striker in the Premier League. He’s got everything in his locker, so it’s just getting him to do that. Tonight, he certainly did that to great effect and I thought he was fantastic.”
Pulis believes that the performance is a measure of the improvement his side has made once again this season, one which sees them currently lying in eighth place and with 28 points at the halfway stage, they are well on the way to their initial target of 40 points.
“I think this is the best side we’ve had in the Premier League,” he stated. “We’ve moved along gradually each year, getting a little bit better every season.
“This is a great result which shows how far we have come and let’s enjoy it tonight, but then we mustn’t take off our foot off the pedal. We want to keep moving forward.”