- Premier League
Pulis praises 'fantastic' Coates
Tony Pulis has revealed chairman Peter Coates has made a special rallying call to his squad to galvanise them for the final push to secure Premier League safety.
Stoke manager Pulis and his players were visited by the club's major benefactor this week ahead of Sunday's challenge of Manchester United at the Britannia Stadium.
Coates has ploughed millions into transforming the club and has warned of the financial implications of losing top flight status after five seasons in the Premier League under Pulis.
He has remained firmly behind the manager, despite growing frustration from supporters, following a run of just one win in their last 13 games and has joined forces with Pulis to try to inspire one last push to reach the 40-point target which should guarantee safety for another season.
"This week the chairman has been down and had a chat with the lads. He's a top man, and we are fortunate to have him here," Pulis said. "People question things when things aren't going well. I am fortunate to have a family in charge of the club who are fantastic.
"Things aren't going for us at the moment, but when that happens you have to work even harder, and that is what we are doing.
"You can't cherry-pick games and look at ones where you will get points. It doesn't work like that. We have to go out and get the points. The time has come for us to win a couple of games and put this right. Then we will look at what went wrong at the end of the season.
"Hopefully, fingers crossed, the lads will enjoy this challenge because we haven't had this before. We are desperate to succeed in it.
"You get no grace for what you have achieved, people look at what you are doing now and what we are doing now isn't what we have done in recent years.
"We've had an incredible six or seven years. We have had cup semi's, finals, Europe - it's been fantastic. We are in a tough patch now though. Hopefully, with the background I have had, I will be able to see this through. It is a great challenge.
"I accept that in life and in football, you have good times and bad times. It's how you deal with it that is important."
Pulis accepts facing United, less than a week after their defeat against Manchester City at Old Trafford will only increase the difficulty of their task to defeat the side he insists are already champions.
"Make no mistake about it, they have won the league. People turned their noses up at Van Persie's fee, but he has been pivotal for them," Pulis said.
"They have just lost against City, and I'm sure Fergie will have been at them this week. It will be incredibly tough for us.
"It's a game that we are looking forward to. This is why you want to be in the Premier League. We have given them good games here before."