TONY PULIS heaped praise on the collective team spirit of his players . . . after Stoke City claimed a valuable point off reigning champions Manchester City.
Pulis’ side maintained their run of unbeaten results against the Blues at the Britannia Stadium when they battled out a 1-1 draw in an absorbing encounter.
It took an excellent save from Asmir Begovic and an acrobatic goal-line clearance from Ryan Shawcross with the last kick of the game to ensure they claimed the point after Peter Crouch’s opener had been cancelled out by debutant Javi Garcia.
But City’s manager refused to single out any one player for particular praise, stating that their heroics epitomised the tremendous spirit in the camp.
“When you’re up against a team of this quality, you need the team to play as one, and everyone gave everything in this game,” commented Pulis.
“It shows that you can compete at this level when you have that collective spirit and commitment because in many respects it isn’t a level playing field.
“You only have to look at the quality of players who weren’t even in Manchester City’s squad today to really appreciate the size of our task at times.
“But if you work as one, which the eleven have done today, you can compete and get results in those circumstances. I thought they did brilliantly.”
He added: “We’re trying to bring in better quality players, but they still have to work as hard as the other lads because the club has built its success on team spirit and togetherness. In that respect, Charlie Adam and Steve N’Zonzi fitted in well.”
Pulis was pleased that his side got the rub of the green when it came to the opening goal which was fired home by record signing Crouch in the early stages.
“I’ve been told that Crouchy handled the ball, but if we’ve had a decision go our way against one of the top clubs, then I’m absolutely delighted,” he said.
“Looking at the major incidents in the game, we seem to have had the run of the ball, but I felt the players thoroughly deserved that bit of luck.
“The start to the season has been as tough as we’ve had, so I’m pleased that four games into the campaign, we are still unbeaten. It doesn’t get any easier in the next few matches, but we can take a lot of heart from the way we’ve performed so far.”