Fans would never let us play the Swansea way, says Tony Pulis
TONY Pulis admitted he could not ask Stoke City to play the Swansea way after victory at the Britannia yesterday — because Potters fans would not put up with it.
Stoke got revenge for their 2-0 defeat at the Liberty last October thanks to first-half goals from Matthew Upson and Peter Crouch.
Swansea City enjoyed spells where they controlled yesterday's game, but their passing approach — deemed 'boring' by some of the natives — did not bring any reward on the scoreboard and they were undone by two trademark Stoke set-pieces.
But despite seeing his side's less eye-catching approach win the day, Pulis paid tribute to Swansea.
"I have to say first of all that the way Swansea play is a credit to Brendan (Rodgers) and his coaching staff," said the Stoke manager. "They are very, very hard to play against because they keep the ball everywhere. They are patient — they go backwards and they go sideways. I am not sure our crowd would let us play like that — they like it up and at 'em here.
"But Swansea do very well on the ball and they are very good on the eye."
Whenever possible Stoke, who showed 11 changes from the side who were beaten in Valencia last Thursday, tried to upset Swansea by pressing them high up the pitch. The tactic worked at times, the visitors struggling to create chances because they could not get out of their own third.
"We had to make sure we worked our socks off and I thought the effort from our lads was first class," Pulis added.
"We could have sat off and waited for them to come. They are very patient with the ball and they frustrate teams who end up losing their discipline, so we had to make sure that didn't happen."
Pulis paid tribute to Upson, who produced a man-of-the-match performance in central defence in the absence of the suspended Robert Huth.
The Newport-born former Plymouth manager was criticised by some sections of the Stoke support after fielding a reserve team in the glamour Europa League tie in Spain.
But he stressed the need to ensure his team took another step towards securing their top-flight status for another year by seeing off Swansea.
"It's very important for us to get the points on the board as quickly as we can," he added.
"It's a tough league. As soon as you take your foot off the pedal and think you have a right to be in it, you will be in trouble.
"If that's how you are thinking, it's the time to pack it in and get out."