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Diao explains how Stoke play the percentages

Stoke City midfielder Salif Diao says the team have adapted to getting the ball into the penalty area as quickly as possible as that is where the majority of goals are scored. The Senegalese international is now in a player-coach role and warned that they were not going to alter their direct approach any time soon.

"The coach (Pulis) is using a simple statistic: more than 60% of goals are scored from inside the box. So why 15 passes in the midfield if you can reach it in just one pass?" he said.

"Throw-ins? Teams have adapted. Some, such as Burnley, put the advertising boards half a metre from the pitch for (Rory) Delap to not be able to take a run-up.

"We have a style some people don't like. It is very physical. I am 1 metre 86 but I don't go in the box on attacking corner, I'm too small.

"If some Stoke fans expect beautiful football, they risk wasting their time. We are not Barcelona here."

The former Liverpool player admitted that it took time to settle at Stoke who were then struggling in the Championship.

"When I came, the club were playing to salvation in the Championship. For training sessions we have to get changed in the stadium changing room, then take the car to go to the Michelin factory training pitches where the employees go jogging," he added.

"The coach teased us: 'To sign a player, we show him the stadium. If he can see the training centre, he would not sign!' Last year, we were still getting changed in a Portakabin."

 Click here for the No1 coverage of all the gossip and transfer news around Stoke City.

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Dave Williams

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