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OFFICIAL club website of stoke city

"We Need To Show Character"


TONY PULIS insists that a collective effort is required if Stoke City are to pull out of their current slide down the Barclays Premier League table.

The Potters slipped to a second successive defeat as Aston Villa ran out 3-1 winners at The Britannia Stadium, leaving them still four points above the drop zone.

Pulis is targeting another six points from Stoke's six remaining games to secure top-flight survival.

He said: "In life, when things are going well, everyone is happy and things seem to roll along nicely. It doesn't take any character to roll with the good times.

"But what you've got to do when the bad times come is show your character.

"That's what we've got to do now as a group and that's not just the team and it's not just me, it's everybody around the football club.

"Everyone has got to stick together and make sure we get the six points to stay up."

Gabriel Agbonlahor fired Villa into an early lead but Stoke looked to be on course to claim a valuable point when substitute Michael Kightly swept home an equaliser 10 minutes from time.

But a wonder strike by Matt Lowton and a last-gasp Christian Benteke goal made it another miserable afternoon for The Potters.

Pulis added: "I thought we started well and then the first time they got in our box they scored a goal which was a poor, poor goal.

"It just knocked us - I thought Villa looked the better side in the first half after that. They created better chances than us, especially on the break.

"I've just looked at TV and we could easily have had two penalties.

"The first one when the ball hit Nathan Baker early on, his hand is away from his body - it hits his hand and stops the ball going into the box.

"The second one, Ron Vlaar gets a touch and stops Kenwyne Jones from going through and having a shot on goal in the box.

"And then Lowton smashes one in just as we've been given a lift by scoring and you think we could even go on and win the game. The third goal is us getting caught on the break."

Villa boss Paul Lambert, meanwhile, admitted he was "proud" of the performance his side produced to claim the points at the Britannia Stadium.

"Stoke are a really good side," Lambert said. "Tony has got a really good side and the crowd they've got here really get behind them.

"It's a hard place to play, but I'm proud of the lads for seeing it through at 1-1. You have to bed yourself back in and I thought our second goal was outstanding."


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