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Stoke boss hails 2011 as best yet

Stoke boss Tony Pulis has hailed 2011 as one of the best years in the Potters entire history. The club are currently in the top half of the Premier League and they have a Europa League last-32 encounter with Spanish giants Valencia to look forward to in February.

In addition they were beaten FA Cup finalists.

"This has been one of the most successful years in our history," he said.

"We are eighth in the Premier League. We got to an FA Cup semi-final, which we won 5-0. We got to a final and ran Manchester City very close. We got into Europe and qualified for the latter stages and it is our fourth year in the Premier League.

"It has been a remarkable turnaround for the football club and a great achievement by everybody.

"The supporters should be really proud of the players for the commitment they have put in."

But whilst he is happy for others, particularly chairman Peter Coates, to bask in the glory, he will not be doing it.

"I am the one who looks to the next game," he said.

"That is what you do in management.

"As soon as you take your foot off the pedal the wheels will come off. I cannot afford to do that as we have a tough game against Aston Villa on Boxing Day.

"I have never been one to take anything for granted.

"It is a tough job. When you lose a few games, everybody is after you.

"If you gave me £240million tomorrow I would go and get a team like Manchester City's. That is not going to happen.

"We have to build it gradually over a period of time and try to get better every year without being silly with finances because we cannot afford that."

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Dave Williams

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