Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Pulis proud of Stoke character

Tony Pulis praised his Stoke side for twice coming from behind to earn a point at Wigan

Stoke boss Tony Pulis praised the character of his team after they twice came from behind to secure a 2-2 draw in the Barclays Premier League clash with Wigan.

The Latics went ahead through Shaun Maloney's penalty before Jon Walters levelled from the spot for Stoke. Franco Di Santo's 49th-minute breakaway goal put the home side ahead but the visitors again battled back to earn a point, Peter Crouch heading in the equaliser with 14 minutes to go.

City might have come away with all three if it had not been for Ali Al Habsi's late save to keep out a deflected free-kick from debutant Charlie Adam. Pulis said: "Our attitude and character was fabulous. I thought we had the better clear-cut chances and the save from the goalkeeper was a fantastic save, unbelievable."

Midfielder Adam, signed 24 hours earlier from Liverpool, was introduced as a first-half substitute for Andy Wilkinson, who Pulis revealed had suffered concussion from a knock on the head and gone to hospital.

Referring to Adam, the manager said: "It was touch-and-go whether I started him or not. When he came on I thought the game had opened up a bit, and he is a good passer of the ball.

"They are away now for internationals which is disappointing for all of us, but hopefully he will get bedded in to what we want to do and the way we want to use him, and he will be a great asset for the football club."

Pulis' opposite number Roberto Martinez was satisfied to take a point from the match and lauded Al Habsi's display.

"We started really brightly and got the goal we deserved, but then you are looking at the manner in which the game opened up and it could have gone either way," the Wigan boss said.

"Ali had to show a tremendous level and we had our chances - I take it as a point gained. I think the best compliment you can say (regarding Al Habsi's late save) is that we are not surprised any more.

"Ali keeps producing this level. Since he arrived at the DW Stadium he has become a bit of a hero and that is why - because when you really need him, he is always there."

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