Ricardo Fuller's second-half header deservedly gave Stoke the three points at the Britannia Stadium.
Predictably Rory Delap, one of three Stoke players along with Thomas Sorensen and Danny Higginbotham to play against their former club, was the architect with one of his trademark long throws.
Fuller rose above Dean Whitehead on the six-yard line to power his header past Marton Fulop in the 73rd minute.
At the other end, Ryan Shawcross was a rock at the heart of the defence and Sorensen, who had little to do all evening, preserved Stoke's advantage with a fine one-handed save to thwart Kenwyne Jones in the 84th minute.
"I think that is probably the best we have played this season for 90 minutes," Pulis said.
"We have had good spells but I don't think we have played as consistently through a game and I felt we really deserved to win.
"I thought the lads kept going and the tempo throughout was very good.
"I can't single anyone out. There was a good togetherness and we played well as a group and as a team and moved up and down the pitch collectively.
"After the defeat at Manchester City it was a really good response and we will need that this season because we will lose more matches than we did last season in this division.
"It is just a shame we didn't score before we did because that might have kicked us on.
"It was a very good team performance and that pleased me. We kept at Sunderland. Roy Keane has improved his team immeasurably and they are a very decent side."