Pulis defends Potters’ play as Stoke continue slide

Tony Pulis has defended his side’s style of play and said that change doesn’t happen overnight after watching Stoke slide down into the relegation scrap, reports Sky Sports.

The Potters were defeated 3-1 at home to Aston Villa on Saturday, and the result sees them sitting just three points above the drop zone.

Recent form has been poor, with only a single win from their last eight outings – and six of those remaining seven games ended in defeat.

Their long-ball style has attracted criticism from various quarters, but Pulis pointed out that Stoke do not have the financial power to overhaul his squad overnight, but did insist that changes will appear gradually.

Speaking to The Sun, he said: “A lot people have an opinion about my style and, yes, I do like to move the ball quickly. My preference is to play with width and have people down the sides with pace.

“I want us to get the ball out to players who can excite the crowd. I want to encourage wingers to run down the pitch and get crosses in and I like to see centre-forwards in the box putting those chances away.

“But it’s about who you can afford to bring in. If I had an open chequebook and someone said you can have Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, people of that ilk, fine – they would suit my style brilliantly. But we’re Stoke City and we work within a budget we can afford.

“You don’t just wake up one morning and say ‘We’re changing our entire style of playing today’. It takes time for a club to evolve – three, four, maybe even five years in some cases.

“You can’t just sign two players and say we’re a different side now.”

Wigan – the club currently occupying the highest of the relegation spots – are three points behind the Potters with a game in hand, but Sunderland and Aston Villa offer Stoke something of a buffer between themselves and the drop spots at the moment.

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