Stoke boss Pulis happy to be written off

Stoke City boss Tony Pulis is happy for pundits to write them off as Premiership relegation fodder this season.

"The biggest asset for us is that everyone thinks we're going to get relegated," Pulis told The Times. "It's definitely a weapon we can use. Nobody expected us to get promoted. We proved everybody wrong. We lost the least games and only West Bromwich scored more goals than us - and even right at the end people were still surprised we got promoted. The only people who weren't surprised were the people in the football club."

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Does he not mind that Stoke slipped into the big time, as Coca-Cola Championship runners-up, without fanfare?

"No, we're in the Premiership," Pulis says. "It makes no difference when we go to Old Trafford and Anfield and the Emirates [Stadium] and Stamford Bridge. We're in the Premiership. I think the Premiership is a fantastic league. The pace and the quality of the players is extraordinary."

The big question, then, is how Stoke will deal with that quality and pace.

"First, we've got to get our players as fit as we possibly can," Pulis says. "And, secondly, we've got to make sure that we recruit and get better players in."

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