Belfast Telegraph

Pulis took break from Baggies team

Tony Pulis revealed he kept his distance from his West Brom players last week to avoid his temper harming the squad.

The manager spent two days away from the team in the build up to Saturday's 1-0 win over former club Stoke.

Pulis was still upset following back-to-back defeats in the league and FA Cup to Aston Villa.

Brown Ideye netted the winner at The Hawthorns on Saturday to improve Pulis' mood but he admitted the Baggies needed a break from him.

He said: "I let them have a couple of days away from me. I was bitterly disappointed myself and I can be a bit snappy at times. So I took myself out of the firing line and got together with them on Wednesday. They enjoyed it enormously, I'm told.

"I just stayed out of the way, you have a passion or you don't and sometimes I get myself in such a state I'm better off away from people.

"They went out with the fitness coach and did some light work. I just decided they could do with a couple of days without me."

The Baggies are eight points clear of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone having won three of their last five games and their last four at home in all competitions.

But Pulis insisted they have not survived yet and still wants to make it to the traditional safety mark of 40 points.

He said: "I still want 40, I'm not concerned about what other people are doing or not. I'd be in my grave now if I was sat worrying about every result and every goal.

"I don't have radios on, if I'm in the car I'll listen to Smooth Radio rather than worry to death.

"I want 40 points, it might be less than that but I want 40."

Ben Foster will have a scan on his knee injury after limping out at the weekend with Pulis hopeful the goalkeeper is not set for a long-lay off.

He said: "Ben is a top goalkeeper, he made a mistake against Villa and has taken a lot of flak for it. We need him fit.

"He'll be scanned on Monday and hopefully he'll be okay."

Defeat ended Stoke's three-game winning run and they are sweating on Jonathan Walters after the forward came off with a suspected fractured cheekbone.

Boss Mark Hughes said: "It'll have to be checked on Monday, hopefully it won't be too serious but that's the worry at the moment.

"I'm not sure whether it was a clash of heads, or what's occurred but he's got a bang and there's a little bit of a depression there."

Ryan Shawcross did return following a back injury but Hughes admitted Stoke were not good enough.

He added: "We are lacking a few injury-wise, it's difficult if you haven't got the ability in the 11 to ask questions and when your key players don't hit the levels it is difficult to win games."

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