Pulis not feeling the pressure
Stoke manager Tony Pulis is adamant he is not under pressure despite his club's slow slide into this season's relegation scrap.
Approaching seven years in charge, Pulis is facing flak from the fans following a miserable run that has seen them win just one of the last 15 matches in all competitions. Although still 13th in the top flight, City find themselves only four points above a relegation zone topped by Aston Villa who they face at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.
Another defeat would not only thrust Stoke firmly into the thick of the battle to beat the drop, but also place Pulis in the firing line with supporters who have become disenchanted with his management. Asked if he felt under any pressure of late, Pulis replied: "No. If anything I'm working my socks off to make sure the players don't feel the pressure."
He went on: "We're at home this week, so we'll have the supporters behind us, and the players know if they put in a shift they will have the backing of 28,000 people really getting behind them."
But given the fickle nature of club chairmen up and down the country, with managers losing their jobs at an alarming rate this year, Pulis knows there is no guarantee for himself, even if Stoke stay up.
"You sometimes despair at what goes on, but then you should never be surprised at what happens in football," added Pulis. "I've a great chairman (Peter Coates), this is a great football club, I've been here a long time, earned a lot of respect from everybody here, and I want to stay."
All Pulis demands from the fans is they get behind the players rather turning any anger on him.
"Our supporters have made the Britannia the place it is and I know they will carry on doing that because they love their club so much," said Pulis. "What they think of me does not matter now. It's what they think of their team that counts."
With the worst goalscoring record in the Premier League - 27 goals from 31 matches - it is abundantly clear where Stoke's problems lie. With seven games remaining, Pulis has called on all his players to be more ruthless in front of goal if the club are to survive. He said: "I'm frustrated at our lack of goals, but it happens.
"I've been in this game long enough and you have good and bad times, times when you play well and don't get the results you deserve, and others when you play badly and pick up results. It's swings and roundabouts. The important thing is for everybody to keep their feet on the ground, keep focused, keep doing their best."