We deserved a little bit of luck before goal - Stoke City boss Tony Pulis
PUBLISHED: 11:29 05 March 2012
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Stoke City boss Tony Pulis said they had earned their stroke of good fortune with the controversial decision that led to their winning goal against the Canaries.
Told that referee Michael Oliver had erred in changing his mind by giving Stoke the throw-in that led directly to Matthew Etherington’s 72nd-minute winner, Pulis argued that his players were worth the three points.
“I haven’t seen it but if that’s right, we’ve had a little bit of luck. I think we deserved it with our overall performance,” he said.
“I thought we deserved to win. I thought we were the team that were going forward and were trying to win the game.
“It’s the fourth game where we’ve played teams where they’ve sat an extra midfield player in and made it really, really difficult for us.” Pulis admitted that Norwich’s John Ruddy did not have to deal with too many clear attempts on goal, but was still the busier of the two goalkeepers.
“Ruddy made some good saves, especially the one from Peter Crouch in the first half. It was a lot of pressure we put on at times but we didn’t have as many opportunities as we’d have liked,” he said.
“For Matty to score was good because it gives him a little bit of confidence as well. I think he goes a little bit up and down at times and mostly it’s due to his confidence. So scoring today will do him the world of good.
“Players, especially forward players, have good times and bad times and you have to ride with it. Matty is a top, top player and he showed signs today of getting back to his best.”
Stoke had to reorganise when they lost full-back Andy Wilkinson to injury after 25 minutes, possibly a legacy of their hectic schedule.
“What people don’t appreciate is the fact that it’s 44 games we’ve played,” said Pulis.
“We’ve got to the last 32 of the Europa League, we’re in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, and we took Liverpool all the way in the League Cup when they knocked us out. So we’ve had a really busy season in lots of respects, against top clubs.
“In the FA Cup we go to Liverpool and that’s our fourth away game in the competition. It takes its toll and it’s the first time this football club has ever engaged in such a sequence of games.
“I’m not talking about Championship level, I’m talking about top, top level against top sides in Europe as well. And it can be draining.”
Pulis paid tribute, however, to the Canaries’ progress under manager Paul Lambert.
“I think what Paul has achieved at Norwich is pretty remarkable,” he said. “To get promoted out of the third tier into the second tier and now into the first tier of English football, and to have the number of points they’ve got so far this season is absolutely fantastic. Certain managers don’t get the credit they deserve. That football club deserves a lot of credit as well. They’re a top football side. It’s really pleasing for them as a club and for me as a fellow manager as well, that they’ve done so well. No Ipswich supporters here, are there?”