Stoke boss wants fans to criticise him not the players

Stoke boss Tony Pulis says the fans should vent their frustrations on him rather than the players.

Stoke boss Tony Pulis says the fans should vent their frustrations on him rather than the players.

Pulis' team have only won one of their last nine Premier League games and were booed off the pitch after last Saturday's 1-0 loss at home to West Ham.

"If they're going to criticise, I'd rather they criticised me," said Pulis. "I'm on the bench, you can't affect the game that much, and you need the players to be playing with confidence and freedom.

"Those players don't deserve criticism, they've been absolutely fantastic for this football club. If there's a gripe, have it with the manager, leave the players alone.

"If they go out there feeling the supporters are behind them, it's a lot easier than thinking the supporters are just waiting for a moment to criticise.

"We need to instil that little bit of strength and steel into the players, without a question of a doubt.

"When you go on a run of games when you're not winning, you always get a dip in confidence, but you have to accept that. You have good times and you have bad times.

"Football is a reflection of life and it ebbs and flows. You have periods where you think you can rule the world and the next day it feels like everything's on top of you."

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