TONY PULIS stressed that Stoke City must get back to basics . . . after surrendering a two-goal lead in their draw with Wigan Athletic at the Britannia Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Pulis voiced his frustration after Wigan hit back with two goals in quick succession to claim a point after City looked to be well on the way to a first Premier League victory in 2013.
In the end, the Potters were relieved to claim a point after the outcome of the game hinged on James McArthur responding so soon after Peter Crouch had secured a two-goal lead.
“With our record against Wigan, I was just hoping that we could sit on the two-goal lead for the next ten minutes after Crouchy scored,” commented Pulis after the 2-2 draw.
“They scored their first goal from us switching off. We’re letting people run off us which is what we did today and that cost us. We have got to start doing the basics again.
He added: “We’ve talked about it and certain individuals have got to do the work off the ball as well as on the ball. We’re playing in one of the best Leagues in the world and you don’t just play on the ball, you have to put even more effort into playing off the ball as well.
“Ever since I’ve been at this Football Club, we’ve been a side who will work their socks off. Over the last few weeks though, we’ve not been doing the basics when we’ve not had the ball. The disappointing thing is it’s cost us tonight after we’ve done some good things.
“When they got their second goal, we looked really tired and that was probably down to all the work we had to do in chasing Manchester City in the cup tie at the weekend.”
Pulis cited that as a reason for introducing fresh legs shortly after Wigan’s two goals when he opted to take off both Charlie Adam and Steven Nzonzi.
“I thought Charlie did really well, but when I was looking to him in that spell, he was starting to look tired, while Steven had been nursing a thigh strain for the past two days, so it would have been a risk to have left him on when he was getting tired,” he explained.
“The last thing I want is people pulling a muscle and then have them missing for four and five weeks. You have to make those decisions; sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. That was my 450th game in charge of this Club and you have to take the rough with the smooth.”
Pulis did nevertheless look on the bright side by adding: “We’re disappointed, but we’ve got 30 points with 14 games to go, so things aren’t all that bad.”